30 August 2016

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) are boasting about their enforcement and promotion of the human rights culture in the country through the second report made during the Universal Periodic Review, dated November 2, 2012 as well as their will to build the capacity of the associate of the Ministry of Interior in the field of human rights, to study the accession to UN agreements and to concentrate human rights bodies in addition to their pride about their progress in the hierarchy of international indicators and their generous contribution in financing private donations for the victims of torture and the UN. 

However, the torture and ill-treatment and cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment as well as the other gross violations that take place in the prisons of the United Arab Emirates seem to be contrary of what is stated by Emirati authorities and what occurs in reality.

Indeed, the UAE government has given up its job in reforming, rehabilitating and helping the prisoners for their reintegration in society especially when it comes to dissidents, activists and opponents. The authorities are often violating all the principles and rules related to detention or imprisonment such as the rehabilitative and correctional mission of the prison highlighted by article 10 of the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which till today the UAE did not join or ratify.

We also find a flagrant breach in the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners approved by the Economic and Social Council by its resolutions 663 C (XXIV) of 31 July 1957 including rule number 24, which confirmed that “All persons deprived of their liberty shall be treated with humanity and with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person.” 

The UAE authorities have also violated the provisions of Article 2 of the Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials adopted by the General Assembly resolution 34/169 of 17 December 1979, which obliges law enforcement officials “to respect and protect human dignity and maintain and uphold the human rights of all persons.”

Despite the civil society’s will to set non-custodial measures known as the Tokyo rules as effective substitutes of the prison to enable authorities to adapt criminal penalties in accordance with individuals’ needs in order to keep them free to pursue their work, studies and family life, on the contrary, the UAE works in the opposite direction of these principles and laws  by restricting the freedom of the prisoners of conscience and human rights activists including bloggers, experts, lawyers, academics and former judges and many others among the elite of the UAE who are languishing in prisons after having peacefully demanded the president of the country to do some political reforms and to empower the fundamental freedoms and rights in the UAE.

In fact, prior to their putting in Emirati jails, such as Al Wathba, Al Rezin and Al Sadr prisons, these reformists have been subjected to enforced disappearance, arbitrary detention in secret places, torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment which affected their safety, freedom and humanity in addition to the fact that some of them were tried by an oppressive and non-impartial judiciary before the State Security Chamber of the Federal Supreme Court that lacks the most basic fair trial guarantees. Prisoners of conscience and activists were also abused and deprived of their basic rights even in jails especially the group of “UAE 94” who were mercilessly tortured and harassed by Emirati authorities who continue to practice these violations and undermine the rights of anyone arrested for his views on this issue.

Prison authorities deliberately turn these prisons into the most notorious, unbearable and hellish jails in the country to the extent that pushed some people to name Al Rezin prison as «Emirates Guantánamo.”

  1. The methodology and objectives of the report

The report’s aim is to convey the gross human rights and prisoners’ rights violations, particularly dissidents and activists, that take place in UAE prisons in clear breach of the Emirati Constitution and the relevant international laws and conventions.

The report is based on the complaints and grievances that the International Centre for Justice and Human Rights has received from Emirati and non-Emirati prisoners and their families in addition to human rights activists residing in the United Arab Emirates. The report takes also into account the reports of international human rights organizations that have monitored human rights violations in the United Arab Emirates and the report of The UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers following her visit to the UAE in 2014 as well as reports issued by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and the European Parliament.

The report examines the legislative framework governing Emirati prisons and their conformity with the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners approved by the Economic and Social Council by its resolutions 663 C (XXIV) of 31 July 1957, the Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment, adopted by the UN General Assembly Resolution 43/173, 9 December 1988 and the Basic Principles for the Treatment of Prisoners adopted by General Assembly resolution. 45/111 of 14 December 1990. 

The report also enumerates the violations that affected the rights of prisoners of conscience and human rights activists who are languishing in the prisons of the United Arab Emirates.

The report concludes with a set of recommendations that would adhere to abolish violations against political activists and opponents and ensure that they will not recur, improve the prison conditions and make sure that they are respecting the dignity and the humanity of prisoners. 

  1. The legislative framework of prisons and the treatment of prisoners in the UAE

2.1 Constitution of the United Arab Emirates

UAE Constitution covers the rights and freedoms that are indirectly linked to the rights of prisoners. The prohibition of torture and other ill-treatment is provided in article 26 of the constitution which states that “No man shall be subjected to torture or other indignity” and article 28 “Physical and mental abuse of an accused person shall be prohibited”. In addition, article 41 affirms that “Every person shall have the right to submit complaints to the competent authorities, including the judicial authorities, concerning the abuse or infringement of the rights and freedoms stipulated in this Chapter”.

2.2 Federal Law N° 43 of 1992 on regulating Penal Institutions

According to the Federal Law N°43 (the law), penal institutions are related to the ministry of interior (Article 4) and the Public Prosecutor controls the penal institutions (Article 10). Moreover, the law  enumerates a set of rights for the prisoners notably the right to lodge complaints to  the Public Prosecutor (Article 9-11), to meet a member from it or from the inspection authorities (Article 10) and the right to have clothes, to get food and to receive visits. It also set fundamental rights as as the right to see a lawyer privately according to a written permission provided by the competent Public Prosecution (Article 23), the right to health which includes the right to a health inspection in the penal institution, to have a private clinic in prison and a health records of the persons deprived of their liberty (Article 29-30 – 32) in addition to of the access to hygiene equipment, to practice sports two hours in the open air (Article 30) and the right to have a place to pray, to education and training and to have books, newspapers and magazines. In its Article 5, the law addresses the issue of the discipline of the prisoners and about the sanctions as well as it  stresses the “duty to conduct an investigation that includes the imprisoned facing the crime attributed to him and hear his words and achieve his defense” (Article 39).

The executive regulation of the Federal Law No. 43 came on September 12, 1995 to address all rights in detail.

2.3 The defects of the legislative framework of the prisons 

2.3.1 Not constitutionalizing the prisoners’ rights and the rehabilitative function of prisons

Unlike many constitutions, Emirati authorities did not initiate the inclusion of the prisoner’s rights and its guarantees directly in the constitution, for instance, the Egyptian Constitution has provided a whole article to speak about the rights of the prisoner which is article 56 of the Constitution of 2014 which confirmed that “Prison is a house for reform and rehabilitation. Prisons and detention centers shall be subject to judicial oversight. All that which violates the dignity of the person and or endangers his health is forbidden. The law shall regulate the provisions to reform and rehabilitate those who have been convicted, and to facilitate a decent life once they are released.”

Tunisian constitution also spoke about the rights of the prisoner in Article 30 of the Tunisian Constitution:” Every prisoner shall have the right to humane treatment that preserves their dignity. In carrying out a punishment involving the deprivation of liberty, the state shall take into account the interests of the family and shall seek the rehabilitation and re-integration of the prisoner into society”.

2.3.1 Absence of an independent and impartial judicial supervision of penal institutions

In the UAE, penal institutions are under the authority of the Ministry of Interior according to Article 4 of the Penal Institutions law, which doubles the risk of prisoners’ rights violations, especially since the Ministry of Interior is a security ministry that tends towards a security deal with the prisoners instead of a humanitarian way that can affect and humiliate the dignity of the prisoner. 

In order to avoid such threats that may impair the rights of prisoners, many countries have chosen the separation of police and prisons thus making penal institutions and prisons under the supervision of the Ministry of Justice, where supposedly the concern for the humanization of prisons and the security of the dignity and the rights of the prisoners will be guaranteed.

As for the Public Prosecutor’s control over the penal institutions, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers confirmed following her visit to the UAE that the concentration of such tasks in the hands of the Public Prosecution raises concern towards the prevention of independence and fairness of the criminal investigations and proceedings.

In fact, the Public Prosecutor of the United Arab Emirates is not an independent and impartial judiciary, on the contrary it is dependent and controlled by the executive branch, in a clear violation of the Guidelines on the Role of Prosecutors Adopted by the Eighth United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders, Havana, Cuba, 27 August to 7 September 1990.

The International Centre for Justice and Human Rights has been informed that the Public Prosecutor of the United Arab Emirates abandons all of its powers when it comes to prisoners of conscience and human rights activists and does not investigate into the allegations of torture and ill-treatment; he does not visit the detention centers and prisons to inspect the living conditions of the prisoners. Indeed, the Public Prosecutor fears the state security apparatus since promotion in the judicial field needs a security approval, and thus the judge and the deputy of the Public Prosecutor are in an inferior position than the investigator of the State Security Apparatus, who controls the decision of their promotion and may cause with his reports their deportation and punishment in case one of them insisted on the existence of a violation or requested for an inquiry about it.

  1. Violation of the prisoners’ rights by the authorities of the UAE
  1. Secret prisons

Some of the grave violations of the detainees’ rights, particularly opponents, reformists, and human rights defenders, consists in transferring them in secret detention centers with no court decision approving it and without informing their families of their location in flagrant breach of article 240 of the UAE Penal Code, which affirms that “Detention shall be the punishment imposed upon any public officeholder or person in charge of a public service who arrests, detains or remands a person in cases other than those provided for in the law.”

Keeping prisoners in secret jails and unknown detention centers away from the impartial judicial supervision, their families and the civil society organizations represents a crime of enforced disappearance in accordance with the provisions of the UN Convention on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances, which the UAE did not join and do not work accordingly.

It is recognized that arresting anyone arbitrarily and imprisoning him in an unknown prison, isolating the person from the outside world, is a breach of relevant international conventions and a violation of a detainee’s right, which also threatens his personal safety and his right to life. However people have been forcibly abducted or disappeared without informing their relatives or international human rights organizations about their place of detention or the charges held against them. Their detention will sometimes be a kind of punishment and often the beginning of a long and hectic process inside the hellish Emirati prisons where they will be tortured and abused in order to extract confessions from them without any supervision or oversight over this ill-treatment and in total denial of all these violations from the UAE authorities.

The location of secret prisons in the United Arab Emirates, in which the State Security Apparatus keeps detainees, is unknown. However, through the testimony of many of those who came out of these prisons it has been reported that the most famous is located in the main building of the state security apparatus, which is located in the Abu Dhabi Emirate on the Arabian Gulf Street and away from the Abu Dhabi international Airport, about a quarter of an hour’s drive, where no one but the working staff can enter. Most violations and torture cases take place in this building that has solitary confinement rooms and where the guards are Nepali citizens. They transfer the prisoner blindfolded and handcuffed, from his solitary confinement cell for investigation, torture or restrooms.

There are some people who are languishing in the building for years with no trial and there are others who came out without trials because their psychological and mental state became unstable because of torture. There are some cases where the detainee has been killed under torture, but usually the authorities cover up the crime by fabricating false medical reports in which they describe the death as being normal due to natural circumstances and causes thus hiding the truth and the effects of torture. Emirati and Non-Emirati citizens are charged of doing the interrogation and torture in these prisons.

  1. Violation of the right to protect the physical and moral safety of people deprived of their liberty

When reading the Constitution of the United Arab Emirates, one can find an explicit prohibition of torture in article 26 which states that “No man shall be subjected to torture or other indignity” in addition to article 28 which affirms that “Physical and mental abuse of an accused person shall be prohibited.” Besides, UAE has deliberately delayed its joining and ratification of the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment that was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 December 1984, until July 19, 2012.

Indeed, article 2 of the Convention against Torture confirms that no exceptional circumstances whatsoever may be invoked as a justification of torture as well as principle 11 of the Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment.

However, when treating the prisoners, particularly opponents and human rights activists, UAE authorities did not abide by international principles and rules, instead, they exercised all forms of torture, humiliation and ill-treatment against them.

  1. Beating and chaining the prisoners

The ICJAHR has already revealed some of the persons’ names who tortured and abused the detainees in the Al Rezin prison. Some of them have deliberately chained the prisoners’ hands and legs from behind to inflict pain and harmed them with marks in their hands and legs in clear breach of article 33 of the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners which states that “Instruments of restraint, such as handcuffs, chains, irons and strait-jackets, shall never be applied as a punishment”. Moreover, some Emirati officers chained the prisoners’ hands and legs from behind and made them with their hands bound, sit in the prison yard at noon under the scorching sun; and other officers who intended to inspect the detainee’s luggage for revenge especially when it comes to prisoners of opinion and human rights activists.

Solitary confinement

Prison authorities in the UAE use solitary confinement as a punitive measure, placing detainees in solitary cells that are more like a coffin because of their narrowness; indeed, these cells are too hot and dark and lack ventilation and have a disgusting smell which led some of the detainees to describe solitary confinement in Emirati prisons as a “white torture,” a form of abuse and revenge against prisoners of conscience and human rights activists in order to make them collapse and have a psychological depression.

Prisoners in solitary confinement are prevented from having any visit or contact with the outside world and are deprived of the Koran, newspapers, papers and pens and denied the right to have fresh air. The imprisonment of human rights activists and political opponents in solitary confinement continues for long periods and exceeds sometimes 7 days according to the law of penal institutions of the United Arab Emirates.

The group of “UAE 94” was particularly targeted by the government who put them in solitary confinement for revenge and retribution. Among them we find, Dr Mohammed Al-Roken, Ahmed Hajji al-Qobaisi, Salem Mousa Al-Halyan al-Tuniji, Mansoor Al-Ahmadi, Khalifa al-Nuaimi, Ali Abdulla Al-Khaja, Ahmed Saqer Al-Suweidi, Mohamed Abdulrazzaq Alsidiq, Fahad Abdulqader Al-Hajiri, Abdullah Al-Hajiri, Hadif Al-Owais,  Abdul Rahman Al-Hadidi, Saif al-Egleh and many others including a Libyan businessman.

In this case, prison authorities in the United Arab Emirates did not allow the prisoners to defend themselves before they had been sentenced of solitary confinement and denied them the right to appeal before a higher authority in order to review the sentence in accordance with Principle 30 of the Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or imprisonment: “A detained or imprisoned person shall have the right to be heard before disciplinary action is taken. He shall have the right to bring such action to higher authorities for review”.

The harmful effects of solitary confinement are well known: insomnia, confusion, hallucinations and psychosis, and the risks rise with each additional day in solitary confinement (Istanbul statement on the use and effects of solitary confinement 2007).

  1. Using loudspeakers as a mean of torture

Prison authorities particularly in al Resin prison have deliberately put loudspeakers in jails in order to play very noisy and loudly music, praising the ruler of Abu Dhabi, at day and night even during the sleeping time of the prisoners who wake up from their sleep troubled.

A clear example is the case of Dr Mohammed Al Roken, whose health has degraded following this treatment. He has already had a panic attack after running the loudspeakers suddenly at night which made him faint and then transferred to the prison clinic to be found suffering with high blood pressure and inflammation in the ear as a result of amplifiers. However, in the morning loudspeakers were run again regardless of the state of the sick persons and the old prisoners.

  1. Humiliating inspections

The documents of the Human Rights Council on The Right to Respect of Privacy, Family, Home and Correspondence, and Protection of Honor and Reputation have included in (Article 17 General Note – 2001) the controls for the inspection of prisoners and their visitors and decided the following: “Regarding personal and physical inspection, it must ensure effective action as doing the inspection in a consistent manner in respect of the dignity of the person being searched “.

However, the prison authorities are deliberately mistreating and abusing prisoners of conscience within the prisons, especially in Al Rezin and are stripping them of all their underwear to undergo inspection which is a humiliating act of dignity. 

Violation of the prisoner’s right to health

Prisoners must have access to free health services available in the country and decisions regarding their health should not be taken only by qualified people in the medical field, in accordance with the principle 9 of the Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment.

The UAE authorities have been keen on providing a whole chapter of the Federal Law No. 43 of 1992 of the punitive institutions for medical care.

The prison administration should provide as a minimum, in every prison:

  1. Initial medical examination upon entry to the prison 
  2. Medical examinations outside the prison 
  3. Treatment in case of emergency 
  4. Places equipped with the appropriate equipment for examinations and treatment of prisoners 
  5. An adequate supply of appropriate medications especially meals which may be medically necessary.

However, the disease has consistently spread within Emirati prisons and the prisoners’ health continues to gravely deteriorate in the absence of health care and delay in providing the necessary treatment, which is a form of slow death.

Various reasons can cause health deterioration for the prisoners of conscience including:

  1. Narrow prisons
  2. Intense heat inside the prison’s cells
  3. Spread of dirt, especially in Rezin, Al Wathba and al-Sadr prisons which are one of the dirtiest prisons
  4. Lack of ventilation inside the prison’s rooms
  5. Lack of lighting or strong lighting inside prisons Rooms
  6. Deliberate starvation by the prison authorities 
  7. Having unsuitable and salty water for drinking
  8. Providing expired food for prisoners which poisoned them and caused them nausea and diarrhea.
  9. Torture and ill-treatment endured during detention 

This represents a clear breach to the prisoners’ right to be provided with enough food, drink clean water, have a bed to sleep on and inhale fresh air in addition to the fact that the prison authorities did not provide any medical care for the sick detainees, as they seem to be indifferent and neglecting to their pain. In fact, the prison doctors do not move to inspect the living conditions of the prisoners, the cleanliness of the rooms, the safety of the food and other rights related to the health of prisoners which is a violation to prisoners’ rights and a breach to article 26 of the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners “The medical officer shall regularly inspect and advise the director upon: ( a ) The quantity, quality, preparation and service of food; ( b ) The hygiene and cleanliness of the institution and the prisoners; ( c ) The sanitation, heating, lighting and ventilation of the institution; ( d ) The suitability and cleanliness of the prisoners’ clothing and bedding; ( e ) The observance of the rules concerning physical education and sports”

These violations and abuses against dissidents and opponents have led them to do hunger strikes or as they call it “The Battle of the Empty Intestines “, including, the hunger strike of July 31, 2013 in protest against the difficult and harsh conditions inside the prisons aiming to put pressure on the United Arab Emirates authorities to improve these conditions and make them compatible with international standards particularly with the set of principles for the protection of All persons under any form of detention or imprisonment.

  1. UAE violation of the prisoners’ right to have contact with the outside world

The right to receive family visits is considered to be one of the basic rights guaranteed by Emirati and international laws including Article 23 of the Federal Law No. 43 of 1992 on regulating penal institutions which confirmed that every prisoner has the right to contact his family and friends, receive visits and meet a counsel in private. 

The United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners recognized the prisoner’s right to remain in contact with his family; the Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under any form of detention or imprisonment also affirmed the prisoner’s right to have family visits under “reasonable conditions and restrictions.” However, UAE authorities prevent the prisoners from meeting and contacting their families and use different methods to do so in clear breach of all the rules and principles.

Indeed, we have been informed in the International Centre for Justice and Human Rights that the UAE authorities has prohibited families of prisoners of conscience at Al Rezin prison from visiting their sons on the first day of Eid as they used to before. In fact, most of the families came from more than one place and faced many difficulties to get to the prison; however, the prison authorities prohibited visits until the fifth day of the feast which is a degrading and inhuman treatment to the prisoners and their families who were deprived of meeting each other on an important religious event. The UAE have also deliberately left families of the detainees at the prison gates for long hours under the scorching sun and searched in a humiliating way in clear violation of the Principles on Detention Standard Minimum Rules.

Only wives, mothers and children can see the prisoners across the glass and authorities do not enable them to have much time together instead they urge them to quickly end the visit. In al Wathba prison, for instance, the prison authorities have reduced the length and number of visits from 30 minutes twice a week to 15 minutes once a week as well as the number of phone calls allowed that were reduced to 3 calls only. Some prisoners said to have been banned from this calls for more than 10 days.

Prison authorities did not care about the rights of children, as it is the case of the prisoner Amina Al-Abduli who was separated from her three children after the decision of the State Security Chamber of putting her in al Wathba prison along with her brother Mos’aab Al-Abduli. Amina Al-Abduli was forcibly hidden in a secret location since November 2015 without her family’s knowledge and deprived, as a result, of seeing her children during the whole period of her enforced disappearance. This case shows a flagrant violation to the child’s best interest highlighted by the children’s rights convention announced by the United Nations General Assembly under the number 25/44 dated November 20, 1989, which the UAE have joined and ratified in November 11, 1997.

Emirates authorities was not keen on providing special care and developing appropriate measures to ensure the preservation of links between a mother and her children as well as checking the best interest of children.

  1. The absence of an independent mechanism to visit prisons, monitor violations and control the prison authorities

UAE’s refusal to join the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture protects it from the mandate of the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture in addition to the fact that the investigations of the Sub-Committee on the complaints of torture and ill-treatment in prisons and other detention centers will not affect the country.

Indeed, Emirati government has not fulfilled the promise it made during the universal periodic review before the Human Rights Council in 2013 on creating a National Commission for Human Rights in accordance with the requirements of the Paris Principles.

Until today, we do not find in the UAE a national independent human rights institution that inspects detention centers and prisons or examines the prisoners’ suffering and initiates an investigation towards the grievances and complaints.

Furthermore, the State did not respond to the request of the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers to visit prisons and is still delaying the response to the request of the Special Rapporteur on Torture and the Committee on Enforced Disappearances.

As it is well known,  one of the prerogatives of the independent human rights bodies according to the principles of Paris, is to monitor and to follow the treatment of the persons deprived of their liberty in places of detention and preview the abuses in order to protect them from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment as it is stated in the Principle 29 of the Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention and Imprisonment” In order to supervise the strict observance of relevant laws and regulations, places of detention shall be visited regularly by qualified and experienced persons appointed by, and responsible to, a competent authority distinct from the authority directly in charge of the administration of the place of detention or imprisonment.”  Moreover, the detainee or the prisoner has the right to freely and confidentially contact people who inspect places of detention or imprisonment in accordance with paragraph 1.

  1. Denial of the right to complain and appeal

Doing a complaining and appealing procedure by a prisoner is a right approved by Article 9 of the Federal Law No. 43 of 1992 on regulating punitive institutions in addition to the fact that many articles have confirmed the prisoner’s right to appeal to the Public Prosecutor and the Minister of interior. 

The Principle 33 of the Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment states that:

  • “A detained or imprisoned person or his counsel shall have the right to make a request or complaint regarding his treatment, in particular in case of torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, to the authorities responsible for the administration of the place of detention.”
  • “Every request or complaint shall be promptly dealt with and replied to without undue delay.”

Prisoners of conscience, reformists, activists and jurists presented many complaints and grievances about ill-treatment and deprivation of the most basic rights in prison, which affected their health, dignity and humanity in a deliberate and systematic violation of human rights guaranteed by the UAE constitution and international charters.

In fact, Emirati authorities did not pay attention to these complaints and neglected them as did the Public Prosecutor whom prerogatives are monitoring and controlling detention centers and prisons, which demonstrates the complicity between the Public Prosecutor and the violators of the rights of prisoners.

The Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers confirmed that the failure to investigate into these allegations encourages impunity in a clear violation of UAE’s obligations that were made under the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading treatment and punishment.

  1. UAE failure to fulfill its pledges made in the second national report for the UPR in November 2, 2012. 

The ICJAHR confirms the UAE failure to fulfill its pledges made during the second national report for the UPR on November 2, 2012 and to adhere by the accepted recommendations including:

  • Recommendation No. 29 on the establishment of an independent national human rights institution meant to advise the government and to receive public complaints.

Emirati authorities made no progress in implementing this recommendation despite its confirmation to do so to and to visit some countries to see the comparison and to complete the preparation of a detailed study in this regard.

  • Recommendation No. 6 and 36 on strengthening the UAE’s cooperation with international human rights mechanisms and accepting international human rights accountability mechanisms. 

UAE is still refusing until this date to accept a number of special international rapporteurs.

  • Recommendation No. 10 on the continuation of the dialogue with civil society and human rights institutions and the creation of a permanent forum to facilitate this dialogue and provide greater mutual understanding.

However, Emirati government wants a pro-civil society and makes sure to resolve any associations that expose the violations including violations in prisons and incites the prison authorities to torture the prisoners of conscience and human rights activists and abuse them and provides them with immunity and impunity from accountability.

  1. Recommendations 

Regarding the violations committed by the UAE government against prisoners of conscience and human rights activists who are languishing in Emirati prisons including Al Rezin and Al Sadr, and A Wathba jails and who are subjected to torture and ill-treatment and are arbitrarily deprived of their basic rights in flagrant violation of their sanctity and in clear breach of the provisions of the UAE Constitution and relevant international standards, the International Centre for Justice and Human Rights in Geneva urges the UAE authorities to:

  1. Immediately release all the imprisoned persons who have called for peaceful reform and resettlement of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the UAE and respect international human rights standards and relevant laws.
  2. To open a fast and serious investigation by an independent body regarding the allegations of torture and ill-treatment in Emirati prisons which affected the prisoners’ physical and psychological sanctity and to hold accountable all those involved in these violations and to enable the victims of torture and ill-treatment of their right to appeal, redress and repair the damage they have been subject to and work on their rehabilitation within the society.
  3. To exclude from prisons all person involved in mistreating and abusing the prisoners of conscience and their families according to article 18 of the code of conduct for law enforcement officials and article 46 of the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners: “The prison administration shall provide for the careful selection of every grade of the personnel, since it is on their integrity, humanity, professional capacity and personal suitability for the work”.
  4. To set a national human rights institution in accordance with the Paris Principles aiming at visiting prisons and detention centers without prior notice, monitoring violations of the prisoners’ rights and investigating about them and bringing those responsible for these abuses before an independent, fair and impartial judiciary.
  5. To quickly ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture in order to authorize the Sub-Committee against Torture to visit detention centers and prisons of the United Arab Emirates.
  6. To allow the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders and the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture and International human rights organizations to visit Emirati prisons and detention centers in order to see UAE authorities’ commitment to international standards relevant when dealing with the prisoners of conscience.
  7. To ratify the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and its two Optional Protocols, the Optional Protocol on the Convention against Torture and the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.

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