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


side event sept2017

Geneva, 22 September 2017

 Arab Organisation for Human Rights in the UK (AOHR UK), in collaboration with the International Centre for Justice and Human Rights and the organisation COJEP, organised a symposium on September 21, 2017, on the side-lines of the Human Rights Council sessions. The symposium discussed torture and ill-treatment in UAE prisons.


The session was moderated by Rhys Davies, an international criminal lawyer who, at the outset, spoke of the gravity of the situation in the UAE. He claimed that unfortunately, the rule of law does not prevail in a country like the UAE, where there is no transparency or credibility in investigations, and impunity is the norm.

Davies was followed by Rodney Dixon, a barrister and advocate of international criminal law. Dixon opened his speech by mentioning the role of the United Nations and its responsibility in reducing the phenomenon of torture in the UAE, and dealing with the issues presented by victims. He also spoke of the secret prisons in Yemen and the role the UAE plays in what occurs there of severe torture and monstrous inhumane treatment. He mentioned that among the files he is pursuing are cases of Qataris who were arrested and tortured in the UAE.

Toby Cadman, a lawyer specialised in international criminal law and who previously appeared before the International Criminal Court, stressed that the torture that the UAE is carrying out, is a serious violation of its international obligations, particularly as a party to the Convention against Torture, which it ratified in July 2012.

Cadman stressed that torture in the UAE is systematically used with full impunity, and specifically targets human rights defenders and opponents of the regime. He also pointed out that many complaints of torture have been filed by citizens and foreigners who were resident in the UAE, but no one in the UAE investigated these complaints.

Cadman described the torture methods in UAE detention centres, including electric shock, rape, beatings and psychological torture. He used a British client of his as an example of this brutal torture – David Haigh, former managing director of Leeds United Football Club, who was brutally tortured in the UAE.

Cadman concluded by saying that in light of the current residing impunity and the failure of the Emirati authorities to abide by domestic and international laws, decision makers must put pressure to put an end to such crimes. Continued silence means the UAE has a green light to continue its vicious violations.

David Haig testified that he had been deprived of his right to a fair trial during his 22-month incarceration, and he was prevented from seeing a lawyer or communicating with his family. Haigh also spoke about the forms of torture he suffered during his imprisonment, including rape, electric shocks and beatings throughout the body. He stated that he is still being treated for the consequences of torture he endured.

Arab Organisation for Human Rights in the UK (AOHR UK)

International Centre for Justice and Human Rights (ICJHR)


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