ICFUAE participate in Human Rights Council Side Event at UN in Geneva
ICFUAE participated in yesterday's event “Human rights in UAE in light of UPR recommendations”, a side event during the Human Rights Council 37th Session in Geneva.
The procedure, known as the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), is a tool introduced by the United Nations General Assembly in 2006. The UPR involves a periodic review of the human rights records of all UN member states and occurs every four years. In the UAE's case the UPR took place in January 2018.
In yesterday’s event three civil society groups, namely ICJHR, Alkarama Foundation and ICFUAE re-emphasised the deterioration of fundamental human rights in the UAE documented during the pre session to the UPR on 13th December 2017 and reflected upon the recommendations made during the 29th UPR session in January 2018.
Arbitrary imprisonment of human rights defenders, prison conditions, torture, curtailments of freedom of speech and the UAE´s refusal to engage with UN mechanisms and to ratify core human rights conventions such as the ICCPR, were just some of the issues raised in the hour long session at the UN Headquarters in Geneva.
Alongside the NGOs Dr. Mahmood Al-Jaidah, a Qatari national and medical doctor who was arrested in the UAE in 2013 and detained for 27 months spoke about his experience. Dr. Al-Jaidah was held in solitary confinement for eight and a half months and tortured and drugged while incarcerated. Dr. Al-Jaidah said he had “a responsibility as a victim“ to speak out about what happened to him and said ”the international community has a responsibility to stop what is going on“.
ICFUAE raised issues of arbitrary detention and enforced disappearances in the UAE, reminding the audience that between 2013 to 2017, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) declared 87 arrests arbitrary and during the same period 37 actions were sent to the UAE by the Working Group of Enforced Disappearances (WGED), and that there had been "countless" more cases raised by human rights organisations in recent years.
ICFUAE went on to highlight a number of cases of arbitrary arrests and enforced disappearances of non-Emirati nationals in order to ”[...] emphasise that the effrontery of the Emirati authorities is not limited to carrying out these practises against their own citizens“, illustrating that “people of any nationality are at risk of an arbitrary detention in the UAE“ and that “[…] it is in the interest of member states to protect their own citizens by putting pressure on the UAE to implement legislation which prohibits these practices“.
Amongst the cases raised was the arbitrary detention of UK national David Haigh, who was detained in the UAE from 19th May 2014 to June 2015, and again from November 2015 to March 2016. During this period, Haigh was denied legal counsel and tortured on numerous occasions.
In these regards, ICFUAE called for a legislative ban on arbitrary detention and enforced disappearances and for the UAE to ratify the international Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and allow international organisations to monitor and investigate cases of torture.
ICFUAE, as well as the other panelists, furthermore, called for the release of prisoners of conscience in the UAE, in particular emphasising the case of Ahmed Mansoor who was arbitrarily arrested for his peaceful human rights activates exactly one year ago.
In light of these well-documented cases of human rights violations demonstrated today in Geneva it is imperative that the international community take note of such developments in the UAE.