GCC to tighten gender tests for expat workers

Updated 08 November 2013
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GCC to tighten gender tests for expat workers

The Kuwait Ministry of Health has proposed tightening genetic tests for immigrant workers in order to prevent transgender migrants from entering the GCC job market.
Tawfiq Khojah, director-general of the Executive Office at the GCC Health Council, said, “The health checklist for migrant workers now contains a mandatory examination to determine gender.” 
These constrictions are necessary to preserve Islamic principles, he added. The proposal will be made in a meeting for the Central Committee for foreign workers’ at the Health Council to be held on Nov. 11, Khojah told Arab News. 
“Undergoing the test will become mandatory for an estimated 289 health centers across the GCC if the Health Council approves the proposal of tighter controls on gender tests for migrant workers. More than 2 million expatriate workers underwent the new gender tests in 2012,” he said.
Youssef Mendkar, director of the Public Health Department at the Kuwait Ministry of Health, confirmed that the proposal aims to prevent transgender migrants from working in GCC countries. The tests determine the gender at birth.
Gender is also determined through the worker’s medical history. According to local media, sex conversion operations are considered normal in some countries which supply manpower to GCC countries.
He said that statistics from the Ministry of Social Affairs and Interior show that some foreign workers had a different gender recorded on their identity documents.


Exclusive: UAE mogul Khalaf Al-Habtoor calls for a boycott of US firms, execs. who pulled out of Saudi investment summit

Updated 15 October 2018
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Exclusive: UAE mogul Khalaf Al-Habtoor calls for a boycott of US firms, execs. who pulled out of Saudi investment summit

JEDDAH: In an Op-Ed column written exclusively for Arab News, UAE business tycoon Khalaf Ahmad Al-Habtoor has called for an Arab boycott of US companies and executives who have pulled out of Saudi Arabia’s upcoming Future Investment Initiative (FII) summit, or decided to freeze ongoing dealings with the Kingdom. 
A number of media companies, including Bloomberg, New York Times, CNN and CNBC have announced pulling out of the partnerships with the FII summit happening on Oct. 28 in Riyadh. This was in the aftermath of the mysterious disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, more than 10 days ago, who was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. 
Saudi Arabia has denied any involvement with his disappearance, and has sent a team to assist Turkish investigators to find out what happened to the Saudi. 
Khashoggi’s vanishing has caused many to blame Riyadh, given he had recently become a vocal critic of its leadership in a number of columns for The Washington Post, while living in the  US. 
Pulling out of the FII media partnerships, or executives, such as Uber’s Dara Khosrowshahi  cancelling their attendance, is unjustified, argued Habtoor, considering the investigation into the journalist’s whereabouts is ongoing.
The Emirati businessman also takes on London-based Virgin Group founder Richard Branson who suspended his negotiations on tourism projects in Saudi Arabia as well as discussions with the country’s Public Investment Fund.
“The Saudis’ Gulf Cooperation Council allies, as well as Egypt and Jordan, must stand shoulder to shoulder with Riyadh to show those companies they are not welcome to operate within our borders. They should be boycotted. Together we must prove we will not be bullied or else, mark my words, once they have finished kicking the Kingdom, we will be next in line. Now is the time to prove our loyalty and transparency toward each other,” the businessman said.
Al-Habtoor said he was “shocked” that the US Congress is pressurizing President Donald Trump to impose sanctions on one of America’s closest allies in the Middle East when the truth has not even been determined. He also condemned US media, government officials and lawmakers for rushing to judgement on an active investigation. 
“Last week, Saudi basked in America’s friendship. A single individual goes off the radar and Riyadh is targeted with warnings and threats from America’s political, financial and business sectors. Considering that the investigation is not yet over, if this is not gross overkill, then what is?” He said.