what do you think about the UPR recommendations to the United Arab Emirates?

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Total votes: 4
The voting for this poll has ended on: August 2, 2018


Geneva, on January 24, 2020 

Today the world celebrates the International Day of the Endangered Lawyer. This day aims to shed light on the situation of lawyers facing daily repression. Lawyers around the world are silenced, harassed, detained, tortured and even murdered for the only reason that they carry on their duty as lawyers.

January 24 is a commemorative date of the same day in 1977 when four lawyers and a co-worker were killed in their office in Madrid. Today, lawyers continue to face threats and harassment all over the world. Reports of enforced disappearance, arbitrary detention, torture and executions of lawyers continue to be very common.

The United Arab Emirates is no exception to this concerning pattern. Lawyers in the UAE practice while being constantly under threat. Defending the “wrong client” might cost any lawyer his career and freedom. Dr Al-Roken and Dr Al-Mansouri, two prominent Emirati lawyers and human rights defenders, are currently serving a 10-year prison sentence at Al-Razeen prison. Both arrested in July 2012, Dr Al-Roken and Dr Al-Mansouri were sentenced to 10 years in prison in the UAE 94 mass trial, which flagrantly violated all fair trial guarantees.

Dr Al-Roken was arrested after he strongly criticised the federal decree arbitrarily stripping his clients of their Emirati citizenship and announced his intention to appeal the decision. Shortly after his statement, he was abducted and taken to an undisclosed location where he was held for three months in extremely poor conditions with no contact with the outside world.

Dr Al-Mansouri had been harassed by the authorities for years for his peaceful activism. After his arrest, his health condition has seriously deteriorated due to the ill-treatment he has suffered and his poor detention conditions at Al-Razeen prison. The ICJHR has recently learned that Dr Al-Mansouri had been kept in isolation in a solitary confinement cell for over a year before he was finally allowed to contact his family in January 2020.

The ICJHR remains concerned by the situation of lawyers in the UAE. Many testimonies have also reported that lawyers are systematically subjected to harassment when taking on certain cases. Reports and testimonies have highlighted the systematic use of intimidation by the authorities to force lawyers to abandon the defence of their clients.

After her visit to the UAE in 2014, the Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers raised serious concerns about the practices of the authorities and called on them to immediately address these issues to protect judges and lawyers and grant their independence. Since that visit, the Emirati government has not authorised any visit from UN mandate holders to this day.

The International Centre for Justice and Human Rights urges the authorities to immediately put an end to all forms of harassment and intimidation against lawyers, grant their independence and protect them from any interference of political authorities. The Centre further calls on the United Arab Emirates to immediately release Dr Al-Roken and Dr Al-Mansouri and all the lawyers detained for carrying out their duty as lawyers.

For more information, please contact us at ic4jhr.org.