Led by an army officer

A group of officers is heading UAE's NHRI

20 Dec 2021
A group of officers is heading UAE's NHRI

After long months of waiting, the President of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has taken the decision to form the Board of Trustees of the National Human Rights Institution (NHRI). It will be headed by former army officer, Maqsoud Kruse and 11 members, most of whom are former police officers and graduates of the Dubai Police Academy (DPA).

The formation of the NHRI, announced by the Emirates News Agency, acted like a military council or security apparatus linked to the Emirati police, as the commission is headed by Kruse, who served as an officer in the UAE army for 10 years between 2000 and 2010.

The NHRI also includes Col. Ahmed Al-Mansouri, a Dubai Police officer who works as a lecturer at the DPA; Col. Abdulaziz Al-Noman, a former Sharjah Police officer who was head of the Public Guards Department in the Emergency Unit; and Fatima Al-Kaabi, a Lt. Gen, who previously worked as an administrative officer in the office of the director of the operational sector of Abu Dhabi Police, Maryam Al-Ahmadi, a former social researcher at the Ministry of Interior, Fatima Al-Beddawi, a graduate of the DPA who works in the justice department in Abu Dhabi, and Amira Al-Suraidi, who has a master's degree from the DPA, used to work as a lawyer for the Fujairah government.

In addition, the authority includes a number of individuals known to have links to the UAE's State Security Apparatus (SSA) and to have abused prisoners of conscience in the past, such as Zayed Al-Shamsi, who is also a graduate of the DPA and was previously appointed chairman of the board of the Emirati Bar Association, and Mohammed Al-Hammadi, the chairman of the board of the Journalists Association, who constantly attacked and abused prisoners of conscience in the media.

The commission includes only 3 people who can be considered independent. They are Kalitham Al-Matrooshi, Shahryar Al-Nubani and Nour Al-Suwaidi, although they held positions linked to government institutions, which calls into question the extent of their independence.

It was also decided to appoint Saeed Al-Ghafli as Secretary General of the NHRI with the rank of Undersecretary. It was noted that Al-Ghafli had served in the Dubai Police Command and had headed the Department of Research and Studies at the DPA.

The establishment of the NHRI violates the Paris Principles regarding the establishment of centers for national institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights. The Paris Principles require that the National Commission have a pluralistic representation of the social forces of civil society and be independent of government agencies.

However, a review of the names of the NHRI's members reveals that there are no members of governmental organizations concerned with human rights, representatives of religious and ideological parties, members of parliament, or qualified experts. On the contrary, Kruse, for example, the chairperson of the NHRI, is a member of the media team in the UAE cabinet.

Al Ghafli, the secretary general of the NHRI, is a member of the government's executive teams for the National Agenda and recently held government positions in the Federal National Council, in addition to being a former police officer in the Dubai Police Command.

Moreover, most of the members of the NHRI are former police officers, which makes it more of a security agency affiliated with the UAE police, rather than an independent human rights organization working in accordance with the Paris Principles as promoted by the UAE government.