New Year’s Resolutions
On 7th January, a group of activists gathered outside the UAE embassy in London to hold a vigil in protest against the flagrant and systematic abuse committed by the Emirati government, in a bid to draw more attention to the array of violations and generate greater internal and external pressure for widespread change.
Since the Arab Spring swept through the MENA region in 2011, the Gulf State has undertaken a widespread and systematic crackdown on civil society through repressive Cybercrime and Anti-Terrorism laws that have seen the imprisonment of a myriad of lawyers, journalists and academics who criticized the regime online. Most notably, the case of the UAE 94, in which the world renowned human rights activist and lawyer, Mohammed Al-Roken, was arrested and sentenced to 10 years for peacefully expressing his political opinions.
The array of human rights violations extends beyond the oppression of civil liberties. Migrant and domestic workers continue to face unsafe and abusive working and living conditions, whilst military technology is being diverted to Saudi/UAE led forces in Yemen, in breach of international law.
Hence, our New Year's resolutions addressed to the UAE authorities call for achievable change regarding an extensive list of human rights abuses currently common practice in the Gulf state. As we say goodbye to 2019, we hope that the start of a new year will be the catalyst for change in the UAE.
New Year’s Resolutions:
- Abolish the practice of enforced disappearance and arbitrary detention against those who express their right to free speech, assembly and association.
- Release political prisoners who have been imprisoned purely on speech charges, unconditionally and with immediate effect.
- Allow every citizen to express their right to freedom of speech, including the right to peacefully voice opinions on all social and political matters, following article 30 of the UAE’s constitution.
- Allow independent media outlets to operate freely, without censorship or reprisal.
- Implement the right to freedom of association and assembly, without any governmental restrictions, to allow for human rights organisations, workers unions and political parties to be established and to operate freely.
- Include gender as a category of discrimination by revising the 2015 Anti-discrimination Law, to bring it in line with international standards.
- Reword the 2012 Cyber Crime Law to ensure that free speech online is permitted without reprisals.
- Improve prison conditions by abiding the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners through the implementation of health and safety requirements, including access to healthcare, appropriate bedding and facilities, temperature controls, ventilation, natural light, potable drinking water and food that is safe to eat.
- Allow international Independent monitors access to all detention facilities to observe and report on and the conditions.
- Ban the practice of torture and ill-treatment of prisoners; including both physical and psychological abuse, prolonged solitary confinement, sleep deprivation, exposure to extreme temperatures and humiliating searches.
- Abolish the practice of indefinite detention and release all prisoners currently held beyond their release date.
- Update Counter-Terrorism Laws in accordance with international standards, to ensure that political prisoners are no longer held in the pretence of terrorism.
- Revise the 2017 amendment on Labour Laws to include all migrant workers, including domestic workers, who have previously been denied this privilege.
- Ensure that existing Labour Laws are more stringently implemented and enforced to stop the exploitation of migrant workers.
- Stop the diversion of military technology to Saudi/UAE led forces in Yemen.
- Cease the commission of war crimes, including the indiscriminate attacks on civilian facilities and the practice of torture, as part of the conflict in Yemen.