Geneva, on 4 July 2019
On 3 July 2019, at a side-event to the 41st session of the Human Rights Council organised by Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrein (ADHRB), human rights organisation shed the light on the systematic human rights violations in the UAE and Oman and called to take action to immediately address these abuses.
Opening the event, ADHRB’s Tyler Pry stressed that the attention had been focused on Saudi Arabia and the mass violations committed both in the Kingdom and in Yemen and pointed out that the UAE was also a major actor in the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen and was responsible for serious human rights violations and war crimes. He further called for special attention to be given to the human rights abuses in Oman.
Imene Ben Younes, from the International Centre for Justice and Human Rights, raised the main issues related to the anti-terrorist legislation in the UAE, outlining that the Law No. 7 of 2014 was broadly worded and included among terrorist acts any form of criticism and opposition to the State. She also raised concerns about the practice of administrative detention and mentioned the case of Osama Al-Najjar and other detainees who have been kept in administrative detention after they served their time.
Sofia Kaltenbrunner, from the International Campaign for Freedom in the United Arab Emirates (ICFUAE), described the major issues of the cyber-crime law and its systematic use to silence dissent. She raised the case of prominent human rights defender Ahmed Mansour, arrested in 2017 and sentenced under the cybercrime law to 10 years in prison, for his online activism to denounce human rights situation in the UAE.
Clara Sanchez Lopez, from ADHRB, joined Sofia Kaltenbrunner to outline the poor detention condition of Ahmed Mansour, held mostly in solitary confinement since his arrest. She highlighted the appalling conditions in UAE-run prisons in Yemen and shed light on the harsh methods of torture, including sexual violence.
Omani human rights activist Nabhan Al-Hanashi addressed the situation of human rights in Oman and gave a thorough overview of the patterns of abuses against political opponents and human rights defenders. Khalfan Al-Badwawi further exposed the human rights situation in Oman and gave a testimony about the violations he was personally subjected to.
The panellists concluded by addressing a number of recommendations and calling upon the State members of the Council to take action to put pressure on the UAE and Oman to immediately address the reported human rights violations.