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

Interesting recommendations
I expected better
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Total votes: 4
The voting for this poll has ended on: August 2, 2018



Geneva, 14th March 2018

On the occasion of the 37th session of the Human Rights Council, COJEP, the International Centre for Justice and Human Rights, Alkarama Foundation and ICFUAE held a side event on the 14th of March at Palais des Nations to present the outcome of the United Arab Emirates’ UPR and discuss its recommendations.

The session was moderated by Ms. Ines Osman, the Coordinator of the Legal Department & Regional Legal Officer of Mashreq at Alkarama Foundation.

Ms. Safwa Aïssa, Executive Director of the ICJHR highlighted the concerns presented by the ICJHR during the pre-session of the 29th UPR as well as the recommendations made by countries in the UPR. The organisation presented issues concerning attacks on human rights defenders, the conditions of detentions and the reprisals against families of prisoners of conscience. The particular cases mentioned by her were the conditions of Ahmed Mansour, Nasser Bin Ghaith and the conditions of detention of the prisoners in the UAE94 mass trial. Ms. Aïssa then underlined the recommendations made by countries with regard to protecting human rights defenders. She noticed the failure of the UAE to acknowledge the recommendations presented at the UPR session and called upon the UAE authorities to adopt as many recommendations as possible, both from the UPR in 2013 as well as those from the most recent one of January 2018.

Ms. Julia Legner, Regional Legal Officer for the Gulf at Alkarama Foundation spoke about restrictive legislations infringing on freedom of expression, the persistent practice of torture in the UAE and the lack of cooperation of the UAE with the UN human rights mechanisms. Indeed, Ms. Legner highlighted the ever-restrictive legal arsenal used to prosecute peaceful activists for criticising the Emirati authorities, in particular the Cybercrime law, the Federal Law on Combatting Terrorism Offences and the amendment of the Penal Code in September 2016. Regarding torture, she mentioned that the UAE acceded to the UN Convention against Torture (UNCAT) in 2012. Nonetheless, the practice of torture has still not been eradicated. Furthermore, the UAE never submitted its initial report to the Committee against Torture overdue since August 2013.

Ms. Harriet Paintin, Campaigns Manager of ICFUAE underlined issues with regards to arbitrary detention and enforced disappearance by focusing on foreign nationals and emphasising on the importance of accepting recommendations for the implementation of the ICCPR treaty. She stated that the UK’s recommendations to the UAE in the 29th UPR failed to address this issues, and focused instead on issues of human trafficking, treaty body elections and death penalty. By neglecting to acknowledge the UAE’s practices of arbitrary detention, enforced disappearance and torture, they are leaving their own citizens vulnerable to such practices. Nonetheless, she underlined that during the 29th UPR 19 states, such as Germany, Australia, Slovakia and Japan, recommended ratification of the ICCPR and a handful of states recommended ratification of the International Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearances.


Dr. Mahmoud Al-Jaidah, Qatari national and medical doctor detained and tortured in UAE recounted  his experience of torture in the UAE. He was arrested on 23 February 2013 at the Dubai airport without any judicial warrant. He stayed in an isolated cell for 8 months. He was tortured, constantly blindfolded, had no access to a lawyer nor was he allowed to call his family or the embassy. He was suspected of financing the Muslim Brotherhood terrorist group. He also stated that his health was deteriorating while in detention. Indeed, 52 days after his arrest, he had a colonoscopy and was diagnosed of having a small tumour. As a result, today his reputation is destroyed, as the UAE government still accuses him of being a terrorist. He also stated that he cannot travel to the UAE, Kuwait or any other GCC countries. In conclusion, he called upon each human rights actors to take responsibility in the promotion, protection and implementation of human rights legislations. In particular, he called upon States to allow third party bodies to evaluate the situation of human rights in their country.


As a conclusion, to follow-up on the 29th session of the UPR, the different panellists called upon the UAE to ratify the most fundamental human rights treaties, eradicate the practice of torture, enforced disappearance and reform its legal framework on freedom of expression and association, calling upon the government to release all prisoners of conscience, including Ahmed Mansoor.