UN Representative Slams UAE for Repressing Human Rights Activists
The UAE, along with 29 other countries including Egypt, Venezuela and Saudi Arabia, has been heavily criticised in a new UN report for issuing severe punishments for human rights activism within their borders.
As 193 countries converge on the United General Assembly meeting in New York this week, the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR) issued its eighth annual report which detailed the conditions that those working with the rights body faced when reporting human rights violations in their respective countries.
UN Assistant Secretary General for Human Rights Andrew Gilmour stated that there had been numerous reports to the OHCHR of abduction, enforced disappearances, detention, and people being held incommunicado as a result of their work with the UN Human Rights Council. In other cases victims had lost their jobs, been raped, had travel bans imposed and subjected to torture by the governments of their respective governments for their work.
These findings come in spite of the fact that the United Arab Emirates, along with nine other countries listed in the report, are actually listed as members of the UN Human Rights Council.
In recent years, the UAE has become an increasingly dangerous environment to work in for human rights activists, a case in point being the continued detention of the internationally renowned Emirati human rights activist Ahmed Mansoor.
Mansoor, who is a member of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights and winner of the prestigious 2015 Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders, is currently being detained for speaking out in favour of rights of people in the UAE. For the last six months, he has been held in a state of solitary confinement and has so far been denied access to a lawyer by Emirati authorities.
Mansoor's case is symptomatic of a much wider climate of repression in the UAE, whereby human rights activists and government critics have been subjected to enforced disappearances, torture, and other forms of mistreatment by Emirati authorities in recent years.
The OHCHR's condemnation of the UAE authorities should be read alongside the numerous reports issued by rights organisations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch in recent years which detail a multitude of cases concerning the repression of human rights activists.
It is imperative that these latest findings by the OHCHR are taken seriously by governments around the world and that substantive pressure is put on the Emirati authorities to adhere to international human rights legislation, it is only then that we will begin to see effective change in the country.
- For more information regarding the OHCHR report, please see http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/politics/un-human-rights-council-members-saudi-arabia-china-venezuela-abusers-violators-a7958271.html and http://newburghgazette.com/2017/09/22/record-number-of-states-punishing-human-rights-activism/