Geneva, on March 12, 2018

The International Center for Justice and Human Rights (ICJHR) presents its annual report on the situation of human rights in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in 2017.

In 2017, human rights violations continued in the UAE against political activists, human rights defenders, jurists and bloggers, which affected their dignity and personal safety as well as all their rights and freedoms guaranteed by international charters.

The report sets out a number of violations of the right to freedom of opinion and expression as well as the right to Internet through misuse of different penal laws. The arrest of Ahmed Mansoor on 20 March 2017 was highlighted in the report as a case of serious violation of the freedoms and activism of human rights defenders.

The report also exposes the chains of violations associated to enforced disappearance in the UAE. Indeed, the UAE has not ratified the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance until today, while cases of enforced disappearance have repeatedly reported. Detainees were taken into secret detention places, sometimes blindfolded, without contacting their families, in fragrant breach of the right not to be subjected to enforced disappearance.

Prisoners of conscience are languishing in Al Razeen prison and other prisons in the UAE where they continue to suffer from their right violation to a decent treatment and subjected to humiliating searches and solitary confinement for the most trivial reasons, in addition to the fact that their families are prevented from visiting them in some occasions. Furthermore, the UAE authorities were also late in submitting a detailed report on torture and ill-treatment to the UN Committee against Torture, noting that the date of submission was in 2013, but they promised to submit it in 2018.

ICJHR mentions the use of counseling centers as a new means to arbitrarily further detain five human rights defenders, despite the expiry of their sentence without setting any specific time limit or granting them the right to administrative and judicial appeal. The State Security Chamber of the Federal Supreme Court decided to extend the period of their detention in response to the request of the Public Prosecution since they represent a “terrorist risk”.

ICJHR also noted in its report the keenness of the UAE authorities to fortify their arbitrary decisions of withdrawing the nationality of activists by amending the Nationality Law which stipulates that these decisions cannot be subject to any judicial review. The ICJHR has also observed the continuous violation of women’s rights by Emirati government by illegally imprisoning female activists and taking discriminatory measures against them.

Viewing the continued violations in the UAE, ICJHR recommended the UAE government to release prisoners of conscience and to stop the systemic arrests of human rights defenders. ICJHR also recommended the UAE to investigate cases of torture and ill-treatment, review vague penal laws and ratify relevant international human rights instruments. Finally, ICJHR recommended the government to cooperate with UN mechanisms, establish an independent human rights institution and implement a separation of powers so that independence of the judiciary and a fair trial process is guaranteed.

To read the full report (PDF)


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