The Council adopted the “country and regional issues” part of the EU annual report on human rights and democracy in the world in 2015 which complements the thematic part of the report published on 20 June 2016. The report highlighted the main human rights issues and improvements observed in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) throughout 2015.
The Council of Europe noted what could be considered as a de facto moratorium on death penalty in the country with the proclamation in 2014, of a halt on all imminent executions in order to find an alternative conform to the sharia. Moreover, the UAE remained neutral by abstaining on the UN resolution on the moratorium on the use of death penalty. However, despite the positive steps taken, the EU deplored the execution of an Emirati woman in 2015. The Council further welcomed the initiative taken by the UAE to limit the abuses in recruitment of migrant workers through a decree enter in force on January 1, 2016, by guaranteeing their right to choose and change employers, as well as preventing the negative modification of contracts. The report also shows the ongoing concerns regarding the strict limitations of freedom of expression and association in the UAE, which were further hindered by the 2012 Cybercrime Act.
The EU also reported the ongoing repression against several eminent human rights defenders and especially the cases of Mr. Ahmed Mansoor, Martin Ennals Award winner who is currently under a travel ban, and Dr. Nasser Bin Ghaith, who was forcibly disappeared and held incommunicado for eight months. The report welcomed the voluntary pledges made by the UAE for the 2016-2018 period and announced that the EU continued the negotiations with the Emirati government through a bilateral technical Working Group on Human Rights. Lastly, it commended the increased participation in the electoral process of the third Federal Council Election on October 3, 2015, and the appointment of Ms. Amal al-Qubaisi, the first women leader of the National Assembly in the Gulf.
For more information: http://data.consilium.europa.eu/doc/document/ST-12299-2016-INIT/en/pdf