Human Rights Day

UAE ... Celebrate human rights without human rights!

10 Dec 2021
UAE ... Celebrate human rights without human rights!

Every year on December 10, the world celebrates Human Rights Day in commemoration of the day the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in 1948. The Declaration is an international human rights document consisting of 30 articles that define a broad range of human rights that all states must respect.

Although most countries in the world have signed it, the UDHR is not a legally binding document. This has been taken into account by incorporating the content of the UDHR into subsequent international treaties, regional human rights instruments, national constitutions and codes.

This declaration resulted in two binding international treaties, the first dealing with civil and political rights and the second with economic and social human rights. Together with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, they are known as the International Bill of Human Rights.

After these findings and facts, we call on the UAE state media to use the occasion of the Human Rights Day celebrations to remind the authorities of their refusal to abide by human rights and to sign the treaties that emerge from this day.

These two treaties have been signed by most of the world's countries, with the exception of a few, such as the United Arab Emirates, whose media has been causing an unprecedented uproar about Human Rights Day for days, and celebrates what it calls "Abu Dhabi's impressive achievements", although it is one of the few countries that refuse to sign the treaties emanating from the UDHR in order to evade the legal obligations arising from it.

Not only that, but the UAE is also the only Arab country until this moment in which there is no national human rights institution. Although the authorities announced on August 30 the issuance of a law to establish the National Human Rights Authority, the authority has not been established until now.

The UAE is also one of the few countries - if not the only one - that classifies human rights institutions as terrorist organizations, and communication with them is considered a crime with a penalty of up to 10 years, and the word "Abu Dhabi" has been repeated in all the reports of the Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights at the United Nations issued In recent years on reprisals against those who cooperate with the United Nations.

In addition, the UAE came along with Arab countries such as Syria and Sudan at the top of the list of countries where freedoms are lacking, according to the report issued by Freedom House for the year 2021 under the title "Freedom in the World," based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, after achieving Only 17 points out of 100 in the index of political rights and civil liberties, surpassing countries notorious for human rights such as Egypt, which scored 18 points.

According to the report, the UAE got only 5 points out of 40 points in the political rights index. In the first indicator related to the electoral process, Abu Dhabi got only one point out of 12, as the UAE did not get any point in questions related to the fairness of the electoral law or the election of a the president of the executive branch, and got only one point regarding the fairness and impartiality of the National Assembly elections.

As for the second indicator related to political pluralism and participation, the UAE scored two points out of 16 only, as it did not get any point in the question related to the opposition's opportunity to reach power or with regard to the ability of people to establish or join political parties, while it got a point in It regarding the rights of different segments of the population and the political choices of the people.

The third and fourth indicator regarding political rights is related to the performance of the government. The UAE obtained 2 points out of 12, and it obtained 2 points in the question related to fighting corruption, while it did not get any point in the questions related to integrity and openness.

The previous indicators are talking around 4 points, the first is freedom of expression and belief, and the UAE got 3 points out of 16, and it did not get any point in the question related to the existence of independent media, and it got one point in each of the questions related to the exercise of Worship or educational system and personal opinions.

By the way, the Freedom House report considered that internet freedom in the UAE is greatly restricted, and said that censorship is widespread in it, and it lacks diverse voices, and indicated that social media users were arrested or fined for their posts in it.

The UAE obtained only 2 points out of 12 in the axis related to the right of assembly and organization, and it did not get any point in the question related to the freedom of human rights organizations, and it obtained one point in the question related to freedom of assembly, and a point in trade unions.

In the rule of law, Abu Dhabi scored 3 points out of 16. What is remarkable here is that the UAE did not get any point in the question related to the independence of the judiciary, as the report considered the judicial authority not independent, and it is run by executive officials, noting that there are many foreign judges on short-term contracts.

The UAE got a point in the question related to the implementation of due process in civil or commercial crimes, noting that detainees are often denied access to a lawyer during interrogation, and that long-term detention without charge is common, and systematic violations of international standards of due process have been observed in many among the prominent trials that included political opponents, human rights defenders and foreigners, pointing out that the detention of some of the detainees was arbitrarily extended after the end of their sentences.

The report gave the UAE one point in the question of whether there is protection from physical coercion, as it indicated that detainees regularly report violations by the authorities, including torture and ill-treatment in detention, referring to the case of Ahmed Mansour.

In the fourth and final subject related to individual rights, the report gave the UAE a point for each of the questions, and Abu Dhabi obtained only 4 points out of 16, although this subject relates to simple rights such as mobility, education and employment, but the UAE failed even to obtain half the points.

After these results and facts, we call on the UAE state-run media, in the midst of its celebration of Human Rights Day, to remind the authorities of their refusal to abide by human rights, and to sign the treaties emanating from this day.

And they should remind the authorities that they scored 17 points out of 100 in the Human Rights Implementation Index.

Is this score a cause for celebration? After the UAE has become like countries where wars are being fought, such as Syria and Yemen.