On Friday 29 June, at the 38th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, ADHRB’s Legal Fellow Bridget Quitter delivered an oral intervention during the Item 6 General Debate on the Universal Periodic Review mechanism. In her intervention, Quitter called attention to the United Arab Emirates’ disregard for the UPR process and its recommendations from the past reporting cycles. Click here for a PDF of her statement, or continue reading for the text of her remarks.

Mr. President,

ADHRB would like to raise our concern over the United Arab Emirates’ continued violation of a litany of recommendations from its 2nd Cycle Universal Periodic Review, particularly those recommendations that have been reiterated in the country’s 3rd cycle review, which has just concluded this session.

We are concerned at the government’s demonstrated intent to continue to disregard a wide range of thematic human rights concerns and recommendations expressed during multiple iterations of the UPR process, in particular over its failure to lift restrictions on freedom of expression and to end the systematic use of torture.

Torture in detention centers is widespread, with inmates recounting beatings; prolonged solitary confinement; exposure to extreme climates; deprivation of sleep, prayer, and toilet facilities; electric shocks; and denial of medical care. Female prisoners like Mariam al-Balushi, Amina Abdullahi, and Alia Abdulnoor have all reported ill treatment, torture, threats of rape, and denial of medical care inside Abu Dhabi’s al Wathba Prison as recently as 22 June.

Many political prisoners and prisoners of conscience suffer in such conditions having been arbitrarily detained and imprisoned for utilizing their universal right to free expression. For example, prominent human rights defender Ahmed Mansoor received a 10-year prison sentence after being arbitrarily detained and disappeared for months, raising fears he was being tortured. Similar cases include those of Dr. Nasser bin Ghaith and Tayseer al-Najjar, who were arrested on expression-related crimes and may have faced torture.

We call on the UAE to demonstrate its serious commitment to implementing its UPR recommendations by releasing all political prisoners, effectively ending torture, and lifting restrictions on free expression.

Thank you