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Arab Labor Organization chief discusses Arab world unemployment - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Arab Labor Organization chairman Ahmad Luqman (R) with Saudi labor minister Adil Faqih speaking at a press conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Sunday, November 3, 2013. (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Arab Labor Organization chairman Ahmad Luqman (R) with Saudi labor minister Adil Faqih speaking at a press conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Sunday, November 3, 2013. (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat—The chairman of the Arab Labor Organization, Ahmad Luqman, said on Sunday that unemployment in the Arab world has reached around 20 million, adding that the protests in some Arab states increased due to the unprecedented high levels of unemployment.

In a news conference ahead of the second Arab Forum for Labor and Development–scheduled for February 2014 in Riyadh–Luqman told Asharq Al-Awsat that unemployment rates in the Arab world ranged between 3 and 40 percent.

He also told Asharq Al-Awsat that “we have specific Arab standards, as well as international standards, which safeguard the rights of employers and employees. This happens at a time when the situation in the area has caused an increase in unemployment, which is a dangerous indicator that we have warned against previously.”

Luqman further added that the Arab Labor Organization’s third report focused on the effects on the labor market of the protests that swept some Arab states. He said he hoped the second Arab Forum for Labor and Development would achieve positive results that would help control unemployment, and eventually eradicate it.

Luqman said the Saudi labor market was the largest in the region, and that it absorbed the largest volume of Arab labor, and expressed his admiration for the programs recently launched by the Saudi Ministry of Labor.

He said the levels of unemployment in the Arab region had reached 16 percent overall, and that “these levels have increased by 2 percent in the last two years,” and that the levels differed from one country to another, and that women’s unemployment was a problem in some countries, although “Saudi Arabia had made tangible progress on this issue this year.”

Meanwhile, Adil Faqih, Saudi labor minister, said in the news conference on Sunday that it was important to develop information systems in the labor market. He said: “We at the Ministry of Labor have started work on this issue, and the important thing about these systems is that information they produce should be made available to countries that export and those that import labor.”