Emirates Detainees Advocacy Center

What do the international human rights communities have to say about the nomination of Emirati Al Raisi to lead Interpol?

28 Oct 2021
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Since the Telegraph revealed in October 2020 that the Inspector General of the UAE Ministry of Interior, Major General Ahmed Nasser Al Raisi, had been nominated to chair the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol), the international community and human rights organizations have denounced and warned against the choice of the Emirati official, who faces allegations of torture.

Following the publication of the British newspaper's report, some 20 human rights organizations, including Human Rights Watch, sent a letter to Interpol Secretary-General Jürgen Stock expressing concern over the possible election of Al-Raisi as president of Interpol.

The organizations stated in the letter that the appointment of Al-Raisi would undermine Interpol's mission and reputation and severely impact the organization's ability to carry out its mission effectively and in good faith.

On May 5, 2021, Human Rights Watch reiterated its warning against the appointment of Al-Raisi, noting that it could jeopardize Interpol's human rights obligations.

"To again choose a top official of an abusive state institution as its president, Interpol risks jeopardizing its credibility as a rights-respecting international law enforcement agency," said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch.

On June 17, 2021: 35 French parliamentarians from the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate sent a letter to French President Emmanuel Macron urging Paris to oppose Al Raisi's candidacy. In their letter, they noted that Al Raisi is "directly responsible for police services in his country that operate with impunity."

The French parliamentarians accused Al-Raisi of playing a "central role in the arbitrary detention and violations of many human rights defenders" and noted that Al-Raisi was "on track" to be elected to head the international institution based in Lyon, eastern France, while his "heavyweight record should keep him away from such responsibility."

On September 15, 2021, the European Parliament adopted a resolution calling on "the members of the General Assembly of Interpol, in particular the member states of the European Union, to give due consideration to the allegations of human rights violations related to Al-Raisi before the election of the president of the organization on 23-25 November" the European Parliament noted in the resolution that it "notes the concerns expressed by civil society regarding his candidacy and the potential impact on the institution's reputation."

A few days ago, 11 human rights organizations, including the Emirates Detainees Advocacy Centre (EDAC), called on the British public relations company "Project Associates" to end its relations with the Abu Dhabi authorities and not to participate in promoting Al Raisi's candidacy to head Interpol.

The letter from the human rights organizations came after press reports confirmed that a British lobby company will run an intensive campaign to control "negative stories" about him and use its "political and diplomatic expertise" to open doors for Al Raisi and put him in touch with high-ranking officials in Britain and Europe and win their support through "active diplomacy."

It is worth noting that elections for Interpol's president and executive committee were supposed to take place in December 2020 during the General Assembly, but were postponed until November this year due to pandemic-related constraints.