Side Events at Human Rights Council Raise Concerns about UAE Abuses
On 14th and 15th June, in occasion of the 35th session of the UN Human RIghts Council, COJEP International and the ICJHR held panel discussions to raise the increasing concerns about the human rights situation in the UAE. The statements come in light of the rising tensions with Qatar which have developed into a series of violations to the rights of Qatari residents of the UAE and their families.
The ICJHR event, in collaboration with Cojep International, "The United Arab Emirates: Human Rights Defenders under Attack", aimed to "raise awareness of and bring attention to [...] the precarious situation of human rights defenders under attack by the UAE authorities". The presentations drew attention to both the legal framework of cybercrime laws that allow the repression of freedom of speech and some of the specific cases that have raised international attention in the last few months, such as the case of award-winning human rights defender Ahmed Mansoor. The speakers included Joyce Hakmeh, Academic Fellow in the department of International Security at Chatham House; Julia Legner, Regional Legal Officer for the Gulf at Alkarama Foundation; and Ahmed Alnuaimi, Emirati political activist in exile.
The second event, organised by Cojep International in collaboration with Human Rights Solidarity focused more generally on human rights in the UAE and saw a panel composed of Safwa Aissa, Director of the ICJHR; Ali Oguz Dirioz, lecturer at the Middle East Technical University in Ankara; and Ahmed Al Gasir, researcher at Human Rights Solidarity. The speakers highlighted several areas of abuses by the government, including migrants and women's rights, freedoms of speech and association. They particularly drew attention to the recent abuses to prisoners at Al-Rezin prison as well as the worrying context of severed ties with Qatar.