EU -UAE human rights group must be a platform for dialogue
The Emirates News Agency reported that the European-UAE human rights working group met this week in Abu Dhabi to discuss the Emirates human rights record.
The working group was first launched in 2013 in response to European commitment to ensuring that their international partners remain committed to the protection of human rights. The EU have said that
“Human rights, democracy and the rule of law are the basic values on which EU foreign policy is built. They are a silver thread running through all that we do. “
This commitment to human rights and democracy is an essential component in the EU’s relationship with the UAE. The details of what was discussed during the meeting are still to be released but it is hope that the EU would have raised a number of issues of vital importance.
As part of this working group the EU must insist that the UAE address the issues of continued internal repression, imprisonment of political prisoners, the use of solitary confinement, the poor conditions of prisons, the reported use of torture of prisoners.
If democracy and the rule of law are basic values for the EU then it is imperative that the need for free and fair elections is pressed upon the EU and more importantly alongside this the importance of freedom of expression. Within the last few months the crackdown on freedom of expression has increased, the disappearance of the Suwaidi sisters for 3 months for calling for the release of their brother on Twitter being just one example. If the EU are holding meetings about human rights in the UAE then it is essential that these cases are highlighted and pressure is brought to bare to prevent such further cases.
As the climate of fear grows in the UAE, the EU must take action to call on Emirati authorities to ease the situation facing social, political and human rights activists in the country.