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U.S. Statement on the UPR Working Group Intervention for Oman
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January 26, 2011

Remarks by the Delegation of the United States of America

UPR Working Group Intervention for Oman, 10th Session

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The United States warmly welcomes Foreign Minister bin Alawi bin Abdullah and the Omani delegation to the Universal Periodic Review Working Group, and extends its appreciation to Oman for the completion and presentation of its national report today.

The United States commends Oman for the exemplary progress its government and people have achieved over the last four decades, specifically in areas of education, public health, and the rights of working people. Oman now boasts over one thousand schools and high elementary education rates. The population enjoys greater life expectancy and drastically reduced infant mortality rates. Migrant workers may join unions. The creation of a labor law that protects women from dismissal for reasons of sickness, pregnancy or childbirth, and the amendment of a law allowing women to obtain passports without spousal approval are welcome developments.

We note, however, that this continued progress still falls short of providing equal rights for Omani women, and expatriates living and working in Oman, in. Although Oman’s constitution ensures equality for all its citizens, Omani women married to non-nationals are not permitted to pass their citizenship on to their children. There is also no specific legislation that criminalizes domestic violence. Despite efforts to combat human trafficking, the practice of trafficking for forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation remains a problem. Furthermore, non-Omani workers do not enjoy the same work condition protections as their Omani counterparts. For example, there is no legal minimum wage for non-Omanis and work hour limits are not consistently enforced in this population.

Bearing in mind these concerns, the United States makes the following four recommendations:

1) That Oman amend its Nationality Law to enable both men and women the legal right to transmit Omani citizenship to their children.

2) That Oman enact specific legislation that criminalizes domestic violence, and provide more information in all major languages to citizens and residents of Oman regarding domestic violence and the means to combat it.

3) That Oman increase law enforcement against trafficking for forced labor and take steps to systematically identify and protect victims of trafficking.

4) That Oman extend work standard regulations – especially those regarding health and safety – to all resident workers, regardless of citizenship.