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

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


Geneva on 22nd November 2017

Four years ago, on 22nd November 2013, the United Nation Working Group on Arbitrary Detention examined the arbitrary arrest by Emirati authorities of 61 individuals in the well-known case of the "UAE 94", which included university professors, lawyers, UAE government advisors, teachers and experts, most of whom were signatories to the March 2011 reform petition.

The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention rendered its opinion no. 2013/60 stating that the detention of the 61 persons and their deprivation of liberty is a form of arbitrary detention falling 'within categories I, II and III of the arbitrary detention categories.'The Working Group also asserted that their arrest was ‘in contravention of Articles 8 to 11, 19 and 20 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,’ and called for their release and provision of reparation.

The Working Group called on the UN Special Rapporteur against Torture to uphold the detainees' allegations of torture and degrading treatment, and encouraged the Government of the UAE to accede to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.The Working Group confirmed that detainees in the UAE-94 case were subjected to enforced disappearance for between six and 11 months before being brought before the courts, and were denied access to a lawyer or the right to complain against their arbitrary detention.

It further confirmed that they were tortured and mistreated in order to extract confessions from them, in flagrant breach of Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the requirements of the UN Convention Against Torture, which the UAE joined in July 2012.The Working Group also emphasised the lack of independence among the judges in the UAE, their subordination to the executive branch and their impartial appointment by decrees and orders.

The Working Group referred to the restrictions and pressure put on international observers, their prevention from attending trial sessions, and the tracking of bloggers after publication of tweets concerning the hearings. The judgements issued by the State Security Chamber of the Federal Supreme Court, on vague and imprecise charges, are final and cannot be challenged in any way, in clear violation of the right of the UAE94 detainees to a fair trial as guaranteed under Article 10 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Human.

Consequently, the Working Group found that the charges against the UAE94 detainees, including “communicating with international and foreign entities in order to distort the image of the State and to damage national security,” were fabricated charges and it affirmed the peacefulness of the detainees and their right to freedom of expression, assembly, demonstration and association, which are guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The International Centre for Justice and Human Rights (ICJHR) would like to reiterate its agreement with the opinion of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, which has exposed the gross violations that are being committed against political activists and human rights defenders in the UAE.

The ICJHR however recalls that despite the opinion of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and other urgent appeals from UN treaty bodies and UN Special Procedures to the UAE government, none of these detainees have yet been released, and they are still being detained in Al-Razeen and Al-Wathba prisons. Their rights continue to be regularly violated by the authorities through humiliating searches, harassment of their families, denial of communication, and torture. Such treatment is in flagrant violation of international standards regarding the treatment of prisoners and detainees.

In the light of the above, the International Centre for Justice and Human Rights renews its call for the authorities of the United Arab Emirates to:   

  1. Release all the detainees including reformists, political activists and jurists, and desist from violating their rights to freedom of expression, assembly, organisation and association.
  2. Implement the commitments made by the UAE during the 2013 Universal Periodic Review, ahead of the next UPR in January 2018.
  3. Promptly ratify International Conventions, lift all the reservations on the already ratified agreements, and allow the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and other international bodies, rapporteurs and international human rights organisations to visit the UAE and examine their respect for human rights.