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

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Geneva, September 13, 2019

On September 15 of each year, the world celebrates the International Day of Democracy established through a UN resolution adopted on December 13, 2007. This day was set by the United Nations with the purpose of promoting and upholding the principles of democracy, sovereignty of the people and equality in addition to equal participation in fair elections for all people, as stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international covenants and instruments.

The United Arab Emirates remains far behind most countries in its compliance with these standards and principles, which are identified as the foundations of a democracy. In the Global Democracy Index of 2018, the UAE was positioned among the less democratic States. Among the list of criteria considered to rank the countries, the Democracy Index assesses the electoral participation, political pluralism, cultural policy, civil rights and freedoms.

The UAE continues to be the scene of massive human rights violations, supported by the adoption of repressive laws and policies. There is no electoral process to select the 40 members of the Federal National Council, half of whom are appointed by UAE rulers while the other half is elected by an electoral college of Emirati citizens selected by the rulers.

On March 3, 2011, a group of Emirati peaceful activists from different backgrounds – including professors, lawyers, human rights defenders, judges, businessmen, teachers, students, bloggers, experts, educators, and State officials – signed a "reform petition" 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.

In response to these demands, the authorities launched a crackdown against the petitioners to immediately suppress dissent. They were subjected to enforced disappearance, torture and other serious human rights violations. The victims were sentenced to heavy prison terms as a result of this petition for political reform.

On July 2, 2013, the State Security Chamber of the Federal Supreme Court sentenced the petitioners in a mass unfair trial, known as the UAE 94 trial, to prison terms ranging from 7 to 15 years after being charged with plotting to overthrow the government, among other charges. Human rights activist and lawyer Dr Mohammed Al Roken, who received the Ludovic Triarieux Human Rights Award in 2017 and the Alkarama Award in 2012, was among the detainees. He had served as President of the UAE Jurists Association from 1998 to 2004 and from 2010 to 2013.

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.

A number of activists were granted a presidential pardon after they were forced to make public statements to announce their repentance for their past actions, disavow their commitment to the Muslim Brotherhood movement, give self-incriminating testimonies, declare their allegiance to the State and retract their allegations of human rights violations.

The International Centre for Justice and Human Rights, therefore, urges the UAE authorities to:

  • Immediately and unconditionally release all political activists and other prisoners of conscience detained in the UAE;
  • And conduct a prompt and impartial investigation into their rights violations and hold accountable those found responsible and grant the victims their right to remedy, reparation and rehabilitation.