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

22 novembre 2018


Geneva, on November 22, 2018


Today marks the fifth anniversary of the Opinion issued by the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention on the UAE 94, a group of judges, lawyers, academics, journalists and human rights defenders from different backgrounds, all struggling for a common cause ; defend fundamental rights and human dignity and promote the rule of law in the UAE.


In March 2011, a petition was submitted to President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan demanding direct free and transparent elections of all members of the Federal National Council. The petitioners also requested the President to empower the Federal National Council with effective legislative authority.


After this reform attempt, the UAE launched a crackdown on the petitioners and arrested dozens of activists, journalists, bloggers, lawyers, judges, academics, state officials and other Emirati citizens all from different backgrounds. Among the signatories of the 2011 petition were members of Al Islah, a political movement acting to reform the Emirati society and politics and promoting Islamic values to fight extremism and violence.


In reaction, the authorities launched a crackdown against political opponents and activists to silence dissident voices. They conducted a massive campaign of arrests, took control over civil associations and tightened their grip on civil society. They dissolved, among others, the elected board of the Jurists association and replaced it with a State appointed board.


The UAE authorities carried out mass arrests followed by prolonged periods of incommunicado detention. When the victims finally reappeared a few months later in court, they showed visible signs of torture and ill-treatment. Ninety-four activists were brought to trial and charged with plotting to overthrow the government, among other charges. After a grossly unfair trial marred with  irregularities, the members of the well-known group of the "UAE 94" were sentenced to jail terms on July 2nd, 2013 by the State Security Chamber of the Federal Supreme Court.


In its Opinion No. 2013/60, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) stated that the detention of sixty-one victims among the UAE 94 was arbitrary and urged the government of the UAE to immediately release them. In fact, the WGAD noted that the detention of the 61 victims was motivated by “the exercise of their rights to freedom of opinion and expression and to freedom of assembly and association”. The Working Group also stressed that the serious violations of fair trial guarantees and the absence of legal basis justifying the detention of the abovementioned victims both reinforced the arbitrary nature of the detention.


Despite this opinion issued five years ago, the reminders of the UN human rights bodies and all the complaints raised by the civil society organisations, the UAE continues to violate its international obligations and national legislation and still refuses to release the victims of arbitrary detention. To this day, not only are the 61 mentioned victims still  in detention, but many others were also unlawfully arrested and tried for merely expressing their opinion.


Therefore, the International Centre for Justice and Human Rights expresses its deep concern about the persistent use of arbitrary detention as a tool of repression and urges the UAE authorities to immediately and unconditionally release all prisoners of conscience, stop all violations against them and grant them the full exercise of their rights and freedoms.


We further call upon the Emirati authorities to take seriously its international obligations and cooperate with the UN Special Procedures and Treaty Bodies to improve the human rights situation in the country.


We also urge the UAE government to take the necessary measures to protect human rights defenders and make sure all citizens evolve in a safe environment where all their rights and freedoms are guaranteed.


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