Open letter to the CEO of Rolls Royce
90 York Way,
10 August 2020
Dear Warren East CEO,
We, the International Campaign for Freedom in the UAE (ICFUAE) endeavor to end human rights abuses, torture and indefinite detention in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and advocate for the release of all imprisoned human rights defenders who have suffered these injustices for peacefully expressing their conscientiously held beliefs.
As the CEO of Rolls Royce, a reputable, influential and global corporation operating in 50 countries, we urge you to realise your corporate responsibility to foster the protection of fundamental rights and freedoms in these countries. By acting in the UAE, a country that consistently and systematically violates basic human rights, you cannot comply with your own company values of promoting “inclusion”, “prioritising peoples’ wellbeing” and “respecting each other and the world we live in''. These values, in fact, directly conflict with the UAE’s treatment of its citizens, i.e. your customers.
Many prominent human rights activists, including blogger and poet Ahmed Mansoor, have been unjustly detained and wrongfully convicted in the UAE. They are subject to inhumane conditions that are detrimental to their physical and psychological health. Ahmed Mansoor is a member of The Advisory Committee of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East and North Africa Division, and the Advisory Board of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights. In 2015, he was announced as the winner of the prestigious Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders for peacefully illustrating deep commitment and bravery concerning freedom of expression and civil and political rights. With their lives at stake, Ahmed Mansoor and many others voiced their concerns on issues such as: arbitrary detention, torture, unfair trials, non-independence of the judiciary and domestic laws that violate international law.
In order to demonstrate the severity of the UAE government’s repression of its citizens, we would like to draw your attention to the 2012 “UAE 94” trial. This was a mass trial of 94 activists who merely signed a petition for democratic reform, calling for universal and free election and an independent judiciary. The group were openly convicted on charges of “plotting to overthrow the government” when in reality all they did was peacefully express their opinions. During the proceedings many defendents showed signs of torture, malnutrition and maltreatment. Yet, the authorities refused to investigate these claims.
If Rolls Royse, therefore, genuinely believes in an “environment where everyone feels safe and respected”, we ask you to urgently reconsider your business relationship with the UAE, where peaceful dissidents are neither.
The International Campaign for Freedom in the UAE (ICFUAE)