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

 side event janv2018

Geneva, 23 January 2018

COJEP international, in collaboration with the International Centre for Justice and Human Rights, organized a side-event, in the context of the 29th session of the UPR review on January 22, 2018. The panel discussion was about the prison and the court system in the UAE.

The panel was moderated by Rodney Dixon, a barrister and advocate of international criminal law who, at the outset, spoke of the alarming recurring pattern of human rights violation in the UAE. Through the case of three Qatari Nationals he defended, he depicted the cycle of human rights violations: victims are held in arbitrary detention in secret places, held incommunicado, enforced to disappearance, forced to sign false confessions extracted under torture which will then be used in front of courts in judicial proceedings.

Dixon asserted the UAE’s lack of independence in its judicial system and the reign of impunity in the UAE. He then mentioned universal jurisdiction, applicable under UK law, which entitles the police to arrest and question the alleged offender, if there is sufficient evidence of torture and if the person comes to the UK. Dixon also stressed the importance for states to take upon their duty to stop such practices in the UAE and fully respect the rule of law.

Dixon was followed by the testimonials of Abdulrahman Al-Jaidah and David Haigh.

Abdulrahman Al-Jaidah, a Qatari national and medical doctor, who was detained and tortured after being arrested in the UAE spoke about his 27 months in detention. He stated that he was deprived from sleeping for days, threatened to the electric chair, held in solitary confinement. He also mentioned that his son was affected by this arrest as well. He finally pointed out that he still faces difficulties to travel as a consequence of his arrest.

David Haigh, former managing director of Leeds United Football Club, who was brutally tortured in the UAE. Haigh spoke about the forms of torture he suffered during his imprisonment, including rape, electric shocks and beatings throughout the body. He testified that he was detained without charges nor investigation for 15 months; he was denied seeing the evidence held against him nor allowed to submit evidence either. He was also denied access to a lawyer and interpretation. He knew the accusations against him 22 months after his arrest, while he was back in the UK.

Toby Cadman, a barrister specialized in international criminal law was concerned that in the context of the Brexit, trade was considered as more important than dealing with human rights violation. He therefore urged States participating in the UPR review and entertaining relationships with the UAE to push for a fundamental reform of the criminal system in the UAE. He recognized that the UAE ratified the Convention against Torture, but reiterated that the UAE needs to carry out serious implementation of the convention. He recommended the UAE to take a look into its institutions and acknowledge the fact that there are indeed practices of torture in the country. He called upon the UAE to engage with the Special Procedures, Working Groups and other institutions of the United Nations, so as to ensure accountability. He also challenged the UAE to bring to justice the perpetrators of human rights violations in the UAE.

COJEP International
International Centre for Justice and Human Rights (ICJHR)