Authorities in the United Arab Emirates have barred an Amnesty International expert from entering the country, the London-based rights group said Wednesday.
James Lynch, Amnesty's acting head of business and human rights, was on his way Tuesday to participate in a conference in Dubai, when immigration authorities at the airport refused him entry.
Lynch had been expected to speak about the responsibility of corporations to ensure migrant workers' rights are protected in the construction boom across the Gulf, an Amnesty statement said.
He was forced to book a flight back to Britain on Wednesday morning.
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No justification was provided, but Lynch saw an Arabic-language deportation order held by an airport official, which said that he was prevented from entering "for reasons of security", Amnesty said.
An Emirati official declined to comment on the matter.
"By preventing human rights groups from engaging the region's business leaders on migrant workers' rights, the UAE authorities are simply continuing to brush this urgent issue under the carpet in the hope nobody will notice," Lynch said in the statement.
Amnesty's regional chief Said Boumedouha slammed the ban as "absurd".
"What is the UAE so desperately trying to hide? This shocking move will only further damage the country's reputation, one they are so keen to protect," he said.