In a collaborative effort, Americans for Democracy and Human Rights (ADHRB), the International Centre for Justice and Human Rights (ICJHR) and the International Campaign for Freedom in the UAE (ICFUAE) submitted a joint statement to the UN Human Rights Council for its Regular Session, commencing 22 February 2021.
In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, the organizations have called upon the UN to take urgent action to remind the UAE authorities of their responsibility to introduce preventative and protective measures against the disease within their detention facilities. This includes the immediate and unconditional release of prisoners of conscience.
The absence of sanitation products, the impossibility of social-distancing in vastly overcrowded cells, and the notorious lack of medical care put prisoners in an extremely vulnerable position.
The UAE authorities have refused to disclose their handling of the pandemic within the prisons. The release of 4,000 detainees in April 2020 was not extended to those jailed on their peaceful dissent. Family members have equally been unable to communicate with their imprisoned relatives, and questions about their health conditions remain unanswered.
Sofia Kaltenbrunner, Campaign Manager at ICFUAE, said: ‘If the authorities really want to protect the wellbeing of prisoners during this pandemic, their first step should be the immediate release of all those imprisoned purely for voicing their opinions, including Ahmed Mansoor’.
‘It’s time for the International Community to send a strong message to the United Arab Emirates’ government demanding the release of all political prisoners, anything less than that will cause further deteriorating in the ongoing systematic human rights violations in the country’, added Husain Abdulla, Executive Director of ADHRB.
Therefore, the release of Ahmed Mansoor and other activists must be met with immediate action by the Emirati government, while, in the interim, providing the appropriate care for those detained.
The full statement can be read Here.