On October 28, 2015, the UN General Assembly elected 18 States (among them, the United Arab Emirates (UAE)) to serve on the Human Rights Council, the United Nations body responsible for the promotion and protection of all human rights!
The UAE won again the Human Rights Council seat (from the beginning of 2016 and the ending in late 2018). This situation is regrettable, as the United Nations seems to pursue its confidence in this Country. We do not understand the reason why the UAE was elected for this second three-year term; it is criticized for many human rights abuses against its citizens. Nevertheless, we hope that this second mandate will be more fruitful than the last one in the field of human rights and the UAE will cooperate with the international human rights bodies, by a positive reply to the request of an invitation of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment to undertake a visit to the UAE.
We recall that the UAE does not respect its international obligations regarding human rights and many cases of torture, arbitrary detention or enforced disappearance highlight that. The Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment requested the visit of the UAE following the complaints received. Recent violations in UAE (including arbitrary detentions, forced disappearances, solitary confinement or torture) confirm the UAE’s intention to silent dissidents, activists or human rights defenders.
In fact, Dr. Naser Bin Ghaith is still hidden in a secret prison. He is a prominent economist and academic who worked for the UAE Military as economic and legal consultant, forcibly disappeared following his arrest on August 18, 2015 in Abu Dhabi. The UAE State Security Authority brought him house in Dubai for house search. Dr. Naser was taken back with the UAE State Security Authority to unknown location. We have serious concerns about his physical and psychological integrity.
Another case concerns Ahmed Mohamed Al-Mulla, Badr Al Bahri and Abdullah Al-Helo. After several months, the three men are still in arbitrary detention in UAE without any trial or charge. Mr. Al-Helo and Mr. Al-Mulla, were transferred to the Al-Wathba Prison on August 22, 2014. We recall that these three men were arrested by the State security officers in Dubai between April and May 2014 and are in arbitrary detained until now without charges or trial.
The case of Salim Alaradi, a Libyan-born Canadian citizen, underlines the way the UAE acts. Mr. Alaradi was arrested in UAE without any charge during a family vacation on August 28, 2014. He was put in solitary confinement during 114 days, in a cell without a bed or mattress but simply the bare concrete floor. He was unfortunately subjected to torture. His health rapidly declined and suffered from serious health conditions, some pre-existent and others due to the prison conditions such as asthma, high cholesterol and vulnerabilities due to an open-heart surgery. He has developed new conditions in his back in addition to a major weight loss, eye infection and bronchitis.
The last case which illustrates the UAE violations includes a new one that concerns Mansoor Al-Ahmadi. Recently, a Nepalese guard in the Rezin Prison wanted to search his cell, however, Mr. Al-Ahmadi refused. The guard become angry and brutally pushed him. After the assault, to punish Mr. Al-Ahmadi, he was transferred to a solitary confinement during four days, in the constraint. He was put in a cell of unpleasant smells, recently painted, so, it smelt badly and highly inside it. The strong and recent odor caused him allergies in the eyes and a feeling of suffocation. It was a dirty cell, with a lot of garbage. He was forced to sleep on the ground of this dirty cell despite fractures to the pelvis (caused by an old isolation update). He was lying on the floor. Last Friday, he was transferred to his old cell, chained.
By recalling these cases, we want to highlight the real face of this regime behind its great shining towers. The Human Rights Council takes several risks about its image with this kind of member inside its body, as it is an encouragement of oppression and so the Councildisappoints Emirati civil society aspiring to a democratic state.
The International Centre for Justice and Human Rights (ICJHR) expresses its concern for the election of UAE to the HRC and calls the Council and all UN human rights bodies to make pressure on the UAE Authorities as a re-elected member of the Human Rights Council, to:
- Fulfill their commitments made in 2013 before the HRC
- Respect international conventions and norms that forbid, arbitrary detentions, enforced disappearances, torture or solitary confinement
- Immediately and unconditionally release all prisoners of conscience, activists or human rights defenders held in the UAE for peacefully exercising their human rights
- Ensure that all prisoners, including Dr. Naser Bin Ghaith, Salim Alaradi, Mansoor Al-Ahmadi and others, are treated with dignity and respect, and are protected from torture and ill-treatment
- Ensure that all prisoners receive any medical attention they may require and are held in adequate conditions in line with the UN Standard minimum rules for the treatment of prisoners, Basic Principles for the treatment of prisoners and Body of Principles for the protection of all persons under any form of detention or imprisonment
- Ratify the core international human rights instruments, including the International Covenant on civil and political rights, International Covenant on economic, social and cultural rights, International Convention on the protection of the rights of all migrant workers and members of their families and the International Convention for the protection of all persons from enforced disappearance and withdrawn the reservations on articles concerning torture
- Justify any case of arbitrary detentions, enforced disappearances, torture or solitary confinement
- Comply with the United Nations Convention against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and the Arab Charter on human rights, to all of which UAE is a party and the implementation of the recommendations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) made during its 70th session on September 14 and 15