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

upr presession 13122017

Geneva, on December 14, 2017

ICJHR participated in the pre-session of the 3rd Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), organised on 13 December.

The UPR is a mechanism of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council aimed at improving the human rights situation in each of the UN Member States.. With this mechanism, the situation on the ground is reviewed every five years. At the end of the review a final report, listing recommendations addressed to the State under review, is issued. The State concerned will then have to implement these recommendations before the next review. To this end the UPR is structured as a cyclical process divided into 3 key stages: the preparation for the review, the review of the human rights situation for the adoption of the report, and the implementation of recommendations.

In the pre-session review, a platform is given to civil society in order for them to engage in the process. On December 13, 2017, ICHJR participated in the pre-session and reviewed the situation of human rights in the UAE. Alongside other NGOs, ICJHR presented its statement and raised the UAE’s delay of implementation of the recommendations since the last UPR. In particular, the organisation addressed the following issues: attacks on human rights defenders, conditions of detention and reprisals against families of prisoners of conscience.

Concerning attacks on HRDs, ICHJR insisted on the absence of protection of HRDs. Since the last UPR, repressive laws and amendments were adopted which violate the right to freedom of expression and association. ICJHR also insisted on the UAE’s systematic practice of arrest of all Emiratis and non-Emiratis who criticise the policies of the ruling power, mentioning the cases of human rights defenders Ahmed Mansoor and Nasser Bin Ghaith.

Concerning conditions of detention, ICJHR drew attention to the UAE94 mass trial and stated that the conditions of detention are inhumane, humiliating and degrading. The organisation also brought attention to the UAE’s new form of arbitrary detention, namely, the transferring of certain prisoners of conscience to counselling centres (Al Munasaha) as a cover for extending their detention arbitrarily even though their prison sentence has ended.

Finally, ICJHR highlighted the situation of the families of prisoners of conscience. Families have been targeted to inflict collective punishment on them. Two reports were submitted in 2015 to CEDAW and to CRC about cases of women banned from travel, jobs and education, and cases of violations of the Convention on the Right of the Child. Furthermore, the organisation also highlighted the UAE’s arbitrary use of revocation of nationality.

In light of the above, the ICJHR made some of the following recommendations:

  • Release all prisoners of conscience detained for their peaceful exercise of freedom of expression
  • Review all the new legislation and amendments preventing freedom of expression
  • Respect and apply the Federal Law on Regulating Penal Institutions and the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners
  • Investigate promptly and in an independent manner all cases of arbitrary and incommunicado detention, enforced disappearances and torture
  • Implement the last recommendations of CEDAW and CRC regarding women and children relatives of prisoners of conscience
  • Allow the Special Rapporteurs on human rights defenders and torture to visit the country