ICFUAE reaches hundreds of Arsenal fans to unmask the murky side of the Emirates
The International Campaign for Freedom in the UAE reached over 500 football fans on April 2 2016 outside the Emirates football stadium in London. In a bid to draw attention to the contradictions of the human rights abuses in the UAE and their generous sponsorships of football clubs in the UK, ICFUAE spoke to fans as they left the stadium.
The United Arab Emirates have a glossy, glamorous public image which has been bolstered by their lavish sponsorship of businesses and institutions across the UK. Arsenal football club has now become synonymous with the Emirates, yet there is little realisation of the poor human rights that face those in the UAE.
Whilst football fans in the UK are able to enjoy the luxury of living in the UK where democracy and freedoms are part of everyday life, in the UAE these same rights are not enjoyed by the population. Since 2011 the political crackdown in the UAE has worsened, the number of prisoners increased, torture and ill-treatment are regularly reported to the courts, there is no freedom of expression and democracy is still an aim yet to be realised.
Shadow minister for Human Rights, Andy Slaughter MP has said that the UK should be raising the issues of human rights in the UAE. “It's not just raising these issues that counts but how you raise them.
The UAE have gifted their sponsorship to numerous projects in the UK and in doing so have created the image of wealthy benefactor, not one of tyrannical autocracy. Their PR campaign allows people to turn a blind eye to the appalling treatment they doll out to their own citizens, residents and even visitors. By sponsoring the Emirates football stadium the UAE have captured Arsenal fans attention and presented an image of money and success – behind the image lies a story of human rights abuses in a country which is becoming increasingly repressive.
The question now is do businesses in the UK want to be associated with a “brand” which is becoming more and more notorious for its appalling human rights record?