On Thursday 5 July, at the 38th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, during the Item 10 General Debate, ADHRB’s Saudi Advocacy Associate delivered an oral intervention highlighting the United Arab Emirates’ refusal to fulfill its 2nd cycle and 3rd cycle Universal Periodic Review recommendations. In his oral intervention, the Associate thus calls on the UAE to engage in a program of technical cooperation with OHCHR in order to ensure that the recommendations are fulfilled. Click here for a PDF of the intervention or continue reading for the full text of his remarks.

Mr. President,

ADHRB sees, and values, technical cooperation and collaboration with the OHCHR and mechanisms of the Council as critical to resolving extant rights abuses, in particular as concerns States’ failure to follow through with recommendations made during the Universal Periodic Review process.

For example, during the UAE’s 2nd cycle UPR, 86 states made 180 recommendations. But the UAE failed to implement many of them, including recommendations promoting the right to free expression, and criminal justice reforms.

Indeed, the Emirati government has continued to restrict fundamental freedoms, sentencing activists to prison in unfair, free expression-related trials. In August 2015, officials arrested economist Dr. Nasser bin Ghaith. In December 2015, officials did not allow Jordanian journalist Tayseer al-Najjar to leave the country. In March 2017, officials arrested rights defender Ahmed Mansoor and extended rights defender and blogger Osama al-Najjar’s sentence. In each case, the men were charged with dissent from, or criticism of, the government.

Now, during its 3rd cycle, nearly 100 states offered dozens more recommendations urging free expression reforms, among others. That Ahmed Mansoor, Dr. Nasser bin Ghaith, Tayseer al-Najjar, Osama al-Najjar, and lawyers Mohammed al-Roken and Mohammed al-Mansoori remain in prison on such charges, demonstrates the government’s refusal to cooperate with the UPR mechanism.

Given this refusal to fulfill past recommendations and implement the new recommendations, as well as the continued detention of activists, we call on the UAE to engage with OHCHR in a program of technical cooperation to ensure the fulfillment of these obligations.

Thank you