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, on October 7, 2019

On October 5, 2019, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) called its Electoral Committee to elect half of the 40 members of the Federal National Council – Emirati parliament.

Half of the members of the Federal National Council are, in fact, appointed by the executive instead of being directly and freely elected, while the other half is elected by the Electoral Committee, composed of Emirati voters selected by the rulers. The conditions and profile of the voters are determined by the executive, thus imposing discrimination and giving advantage to pro-government citizens and excluding others from the voting process.

This is a flagrant breach of Article 25 B of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which states that everyone has the right “to vote and to be elected at genuine periodic elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret ballot, guaranteeing the free expression of the will of the electors”.

The UAE has not acceded to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights despite its pledge during the UPR 2013 and UPR 2018 to consider joining several international covenants and instruments, especially after holding the latest position in the 2018 Democracy Index due to the absence of fair elections.

In 2011, the absence of a fully independent and freely-elected parliament with effective legislative and supervisory powers has led a group of activists, jurists, academics and others to submit a reform petition to the UAE President, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and to the members of the Supreme Council of the Union. The petition called for free elections of all members of the Federal National Council by all citizens, and to grant the parliament effective legislative and supervisory authority and full independence from the executive.

The UAE authorities considered the petition as an incitement to disobeying the laws, threatening the State security, compromising public order and insulting the head of state. The State Security Service started afterwards a massive crackdown against activists and opponents subjecting them to numerous abuses including torture, ill-treatment, arbitrary detention and enforced disappearance, which affected their personal safety.

The State Security Chamber of the Federal Supreme Court ruled out final verdicts against the group of the “UAE 94” sentencing them to long term imprisonment, on the basis of ambiguous and inaccurate laws that can be arbitrarily interpreted and misused. Today, they remain in jail for the only reason that they asked for free and transparent elections and for seeking effective power to be granted to the parliament.

The newly elected members of the FNC should take their responsibilities seriously and stand for the UAE 94 and other prisoners of conscience in the UAE. The ICJHR calls upon every member to take steps to reinforce the rule of law and adopt legislations which comply with the UAE’s international obligations to promote and protect human rights.

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