WEB POLL

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

Interesting recommendations
25%
I expected better
50%
I don't have an idea
25%
Total votes: 4
The voting for this poll has ended on: August 2, 2018

 

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May 11, 2015

President Barack Obama

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Obama,

You have invited the heads of Gulf Cooperation Council Countries to the White House on May 13 and then to Camp David, the presidential mountaintop retreat in Maryland, on May 14. This US-GCC Summit will take place with the Gulf leaders from Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Oman. The specific Country which this letter focuses on is the UAE, as you will probably meet there His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces and Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi. We write to urge you to advocate for significant human rights reforms in the UAE during the Summit.

We want to make you aware on several problems concerning the UAE. As the United States Department of State highlighted in its last Country reports on human rights practices, this Country doesn’t respect its international commitments including systematically violating human rights, with regard, for example migrant workers. Many foreigners, including US citizens, are also victims of this regime. In January 2014, the Emirati authorities have released Chizan Kacem, an American citizen arrested in April 2013 for have sharing a sarcastic video on Internet. In May 20, 2014, they prevented the print of the New York Times, because of its content, an investigative report detailing the conditions of workers building.

Another case includes the internationally renowned and prominent human rights lawyer and law professor, Dr Mohammed Al-Roken, who’s still imprisoned for peacefully exercising his rights to freedom of expression, defending others who were victims and promoting human rights. Mr. Al-Roken, as the others activists, human rights defenders, academics, lawyers, judges, or prisoners of conscience who were calling for democratic reform in the UAE, was sentenced to ten years imprisonment, following an unfair trial known as the “UAE 94” trial. He was one of 94 defendants at this mass trial which was condemned by UN Bodies, human rights organizations because this trial failed to meet international fair trial standards. Dr Mohammed Al-Roken used to speak out through his writings and interviews to international media, and support the work of human rights organizations and UN bodies, meeting UN officials or NGO staff, offering information and advice on human rights and legal matters in the UAE and Gulf region. Last year, Mr. Al-Roken was nominated as a finalist for the 2014 Front Line Defenders Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk.

This last case includes three women, three sisters, Asma Khalifa al-Suwaidi, Mariam Khalifa al-Suwaidi and Alyaziyah Khalifa al-Suwaidi. The three sisters disappeared after what they have been convened by the forces of security in Abu Dhabi, on February 15th after talking about their brother who is a prisoner of conscience on social media. Indeed, they were peacefully online campaign for the liberation of their brother, Dr. Issa Al-Suwaidi, a former Director of the Abu Dhabi educational Zone, sentenced to 10 years imprisonment in the so-called “UAE 94 trial”. Afterwards, they disappeared.

Like us [1], several international organizations and NGOs, as Human Rights Watch or Amnesty International, regularly report cases of arbitrary arrests and detentions in secret prisons, forced disappearances, torture or ill-treatment, etc. Whistleblowers and their families are risking their lives by informing us on what the UAE Government would like to hide from the worldwide.

We understand that the UAE is among US government allies in the Gulf region and it’s an important partner of the USA in regional affairs. We believe that economic businesses can drain many things and be an important vector of messages, such as the human rights.

We urge you, to the extent possible, take public measures to show your support for those who in the UAE face repression as they peacefully stand up for their human rights. Thank you for your careful consideration. We look forward to working with you and your administration to help the UAE regime to better implement suitable policies to protect human rights.

Sincerely,

Safwa Aïssa

Chair of ICJHR
150 Route de Ferney

1218 Grand Saconnex, Geneva, Switzerland

Phone. +41 22 920 29 29

Mobile. +41 79 129 09 06

Email. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Website. www.ic4jhr.org

Twitter. @icjahr

 


[1] See our 2015 Annual Report, http://www.ic4jhr.org/images/PDF_Files/ANNUAL_REPORT_2015_english.pdf and http://www.ic4jhr.org/en/2014-11-30-18-36-45/media/183-behind-the-high-rise-towers-double-standards-of-human-rights-in-united-arab-emirates.html