On Monday 19 March, ADHRB’s Saudi Advocacy Associate delivered an oral intervention during the 37th session of the Human Rights Council on behalf of ADHRB during the Item 6 General Debate. The intervention addressed the United Arab Emirates’ refusal to implement its free expression-, free assembly-, and free association-related Universal Periodic Review (UPR) recommendations, and also called attention to the ongoing detention of rights defender Ahmed Mansoor and economist Dr. Nasser bin Ghaith. Click here for a PDF of the intervention.
Following the United Arab Emirates’ 3rd cycle UPR adoption in January, ADHRB would like to address the UAE’s failure to address its 2nd cycle recommendations, in particular concerning the rights to free expression, association, and assembly.
The UAE continues to criminalize the right to free expression, assembly, and association, and Emirati authorities impose severe restrictions on political activity, human rights work, and independent civil society space. UAE officials regularly subject those that violate these restrictions to arbitrary detention, enforced disappearance, torture, and unfair trial procedures, directly contravening its 2nd cycle UPR recommendations.
For example, prominent human rights defender Ahmed Mansoor remains in arbitrary imprisonment after having been arrested in March 2017 and sentenced to several years in prison. He was convicted based on his human rights work and comments he had made online criticizing the government.
On 29 March 2017, an Abu Dhabi court of appeals sentenced prominent economist and academic Dr. Nasser bin Ghaith to 10 years in prison. Dr. bin Ghaith faced charges relating to comments he had made on Twitter that were allegedly critical of the Egyptian government, as well as his and association with two banned political parties.
The UAE must immediately act to implement its new UPR recommendations, particularly those relating to freedom of expression, assembly, and association.