UAE Plans Further Restrictions on Freedom of Expression
ECHR condemns in the strongest terms, recent censorship legislation that has been passed by the UAE government, to cap freedom of expression in the country. The new ad hoc law is promulgated to punish those who dare to criticise ‘state symbols’. Supplementary penalties were added to the legislation banning people deemed as anti-state from using mobile phones and the internet for a period of time. The legislation also enforces the need for every phone user to register their SIM or their phone will be disconnected. ECHR believes that this is a smoke screen designed to monitor the activities of political dissidents.
ECHR is also concerned about the draft law discussed by the Federal National Council which compromises the integrity of the judicial system. The draft law appoints the president of the state as the head of the Supreme Judicial Council. It is obvious that the UAE authority is trying to strategise their laws and restrictions to consolidate their hold on power and circumvent freedom of expression. The ECHR demands that the UAE avoid regressive measures against its people and respect international standards on civil, political and human rights.
The ECHR calls the UAE to sign and ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to ensure the protection of civil liberties, freedom of expression and association resulting in a greater engagement with its citizens.
Notes to Editor:
1) ECHR is committed to monitoring the state of human rights, freedoms and democracy in the United Arab Emirates.
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