Activists Demand End to Human Rights Violations in the UAE
Campaigners formed a picket outside the UAE embassy in London this afternoon in a bid to highlight ongoing human rights violations in the Emirati state. The Embassy staff tried to interrupt the peaceful demonstration, despite the police having given permission for it to take place.
In an action organised by the UK-based International Campaign for Freedom in the UAE (ICFUAE), activists delivered a letter to the Emirati embassy containing a list of ‘New Year’s resolutions’ for the UAE authorities to take up in 2018. Recommendations included the release of all prisoners of conscience, an end to practices of arbitrary detention, torture and enforced disappearances, as well as a recognition of the rights of stateless persons. A full list of the resolutions can be found below.
Specifically, protesters drew attention towards the continued detention of the award-winning human rights defender Ahmed Mansoor. Mansoor was arrested by UAE authorities on 20 Marchafter 12 plain-clothed Emirati security officials stormed his family home in Abu Dhabi and took him to an unknown location, in an act described by UN human rights experts as a “direct attack” on human rights defenders everywhere. He is currently being held in solitary confinement without access to a lawyer as Emirati authorities investigate him on charges of “promoting false and shaded information through the internet and serving agendas aimed at spreading hatred and sectarianism”. In 2015, Ahmed Mansoor won the prestigious Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders.
More broadly, campaigners pointed towards the continued clampdown on dissenting voices in the country. They called upon the UAE authorities to immediately and unconditionally release prisoners of conscience such as Jordanian journalist Tayseer al-najjar, Mohammed al-Roken and Dr. Nasser Bin Ghaith, all are currently serving lengthy sentences for exercising rights around freedom of speech and assembly.
As we enter the new year, ICFUAE calls upon the Emirati authorities to abide by its obligations under international law and safeguard the rights of those residing within its borders. Furthermore, It is imperative that in 2018, concrete steps are taken to bring civil, political and judicial process in line with internationally recognised standards.