Ivanka Trump lauds UAE over women’s rights reforms despite country's shocking human rights record
Speaking at a gathering of women entrepreneurs and regional leaders in Dubai last Sunday, Ivanka Trump praised the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for embarking on “significant reforms” to advance women’s rights.
Ivanka Trump's statement came at a time when several female campaigners are imprisoned and facing trial on vague charges related to national security.
She has ignored the poor human rights record in the UAE where prison conditions for female detainees are notoriously abysmal.
In a series of letters and audio recordings obtained by the Arab Organisation for Human Rights in the UK (AOHR) in 2018, female prisoners in Abu Dhabi complained of torture, degrading conditions of detention, and endemic racism in Abu Dhabi’s prison system where African inmates are treated like “slaves” by prison warders.
21-year-old prisoner of conscience, Mariam al-Balushi has said that since her detention she has been threatened with rape and subjected to torture, which has included verbal and physical abuse.
“As a result of the torture, my left eye became cross-eyed, and I have constant back pain as a result of the brutal torture I was subjected to by female Nepalese soldiers in the State Security Prison”
In her letter, Mariam went on to speak about the appalling conditions that inmates are forced to endure in UAE’s al-Wathba prison, where detainees are kept in solitary confinement, denied clean drinking water, and served inadequate food resulting in ill-health.
Mariam also said that in the summer months conditions at the prison worsen as UAE authorities turn off air-conditioning, while during the winter prisoners are forced to use unclean blankets which they are not permitted to wash.
She continued: “The building is worn out and needs maintenance. Suicides are on the rise: on 15/5/2017, a Chinese woman hanged herself in front of the cameras and remained suspended for four hours because of the lack of supervision; a Moroccan woman threw herself from the top floor; Alia tried twice, and I tried twice [to kill ourselves]. You can imagine how much we suffer..”
In another letter smuggled out of the prison, 36-year-old prisoner of conscience Amina Abdullahi spoke graphically of the torture she suffered prior to being sentenced to five years for her online activities. During her interrogation, Amina says she was beaten, held in solitary confinement, and coerced into signing a forced confession.