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Dubai plays host to World Tolerance Summit, demonstrating complete lack of self-awareness

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Dubai plays host to World Tolerance Summit, demonstrating complete lack of self-awareness

Dubai plays host to World Tolerance Summit, demonstrating complete lack of self-awareness

In an open letter signed by over twenty human rights organisations and experts, including the Gulf Centre for Human Rights, Front Line Defenders and PEN International, signatories have called on the speakers at the 2019 World Tolerance Summit to withdraw in light of the Emirati government’s gross human violations in Yemen and the complete crackdown on civil liberties inside the United Arab Emirates. 

The 2019 World Tolerance Summit will be hosted by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) between November 13-14 and demonstrates a further attempt to gloss over the Gulf state’s appalling human rights record. It is well known that the UAE sees itself as a nation governed by hedonism and a Western enclave in the Middle East, however, this misleading narrative obscures the reality of life in the Arab state. As stated in our open letter, “the Tolerance Summit is yet another tool in the UAE’s campaign to “whitewash” its human rights record.” 

Whilst 2019 has been declared a ‘Year of Tolerance’ by the Emirati regime, freedom of expression is increasingly repressed by a police state using sophisticated surveillance technology imported from the UK, with a report in The New York Times showing how the UAE attempted to install spyware on the computers of 1,100 dissidents and journalists. The Emirati regime has thus fostered a culture of silence diametrically opposed to the notion of tolerance. World renowned human rights defenders Ahemd Mansoor and Nasser Bin-Ghaith are salient examples of the consequences of what expressing one’s opinion can result in, as both are currently serving ten-year sentences for tweets critical of the regime.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the UAE does not tolerate homosexuality either, and even detaining a British man for innocently touching another man’s hip, whilst there is also a law against ‘imitating the opposite sex’, thereby promoting discrimination towards transgender people. Clearly, the UAE has arbitrarily decided to pick and choose what it tolerates as the government sees fit.

Evidently, the upcoming Tolerance Summit is purely a shallow PR exercise from “a small state with a big ego.” The UAE has proven itself time and time again to be unilaterally opposed to the idea of tolerance and, with the highest number of political prisoners per capita in the world, the notion that the UAE respects any semblance of tolerance is laughable. 

ENDS

+44 7979 6666 98

media@icfuae.org.uk