On the fifth anniversary of his arrest

What if Ahmad Mansour was the head of the UAE NHRI?

20 Mar 2022
  What if Ahmad Mansour was the head of the UAE NHRI?

Today marks the fifth anniversary of the arrest of Emirati activist Ahmad Mansour, one of the most famous human rights defenders in the Middle East and the Arab Gulf region.

Mansour is also a member of the advisory board of Human Rights Watch and the Gulf Center for Human Rights. International organizations describe him as the most famous human rights defender in the UAE, and the former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson, described him as a "courageous defender of human rights."

For these and other reasons, no person inside or outside the UAE can think of a more suitable name than Ahmad Mansour to be the head of the National Human Rights Institution, The irony, however, is that Mansour, the human rights activist and defender, is in prison while the Institution is headed by an Emirati army officer who has worked in counterterrorism and has no experience in human rights.

If Mansour was the head of the Commission, he would have given a very different impression of it and the extent of its independence. He is an independent and courageous person who will not be pressured, and he has continued his human rights work despite constant threats from the authorities.

Mansour's independence and courage are undisputed, and his appointment as head of the Commission would have earned it a high international reputation because of the trust placed in him by the human rights community and the respect he has among human rights and international organizations.

Mansour also possesses a tyrannical charisma and is fluent in Arabic and English, having earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in the United States of America and given many influential speeches in human rights forums, and he usually attracts the attention of the Western media.

Moreover, Mansour does not need reports from international organizations to know what violations the UAE authorities are committing in prisons. He has been imprisoned and tried twice and knows all the human rights violations being committed in his country, as well as the measures Abu Dhabi must take to stop these violations and improve its human rights record.

Ahmed Mansour, a person who believes in the values of democracy and freedom of expression, and his presence at the head of the National Human Rights Institution would have been an important addition, as he would exercise real control over the human rights violations committed by the authorities.

There is no doubt that the censorship Mansour will exercise will prevent the authorities from committing violations, knowing that a person like him cannot remain silent about the arrest of human rights activists and human rights defenders and will expose all violations committed by the security services.

Certainly, Mansour will not hold political meetings with the ambassadors of European countries to convince them of the role and independence of the authority, but his work will speak about him as he will rush to demand the release of detainees of conscience and the amendment of UAE laws that violate human rights.

If Mansour was the head of the commission, the authorities would not have to conduct dozens of media interviews with him to talk about the importance of human rights and spend millions to promote them. Just the name Ahmad Mansour would be enough for the human rights community to be assured that we are dealing with serious steps to improve the human rights situation.

If Ahmad Mansour was the head of the institution, we would know exactly what its powers are and what its duties are. The law of the institution  will be published publicly and will not be hidden from everyone. Mansour will not be satisfied with being a chairman without powers, and he is not after posts and titles.

But if the head of the National Human Rights Institution  is an officer and the human rights defender is in prison, then talking about the Institution and the promotion of human rights is nothing more than a joke or a bad joke.