54th Session of the Human Rights Council Urgently Called Upon to Address Human Rights Violations in the UAE

[Geneva, Switzerland – September, 2023] — The 54th session of the Human Rights Council, currently convened in Geneva from September 11 to October 13, 2023, brings together representatives from nations around the world to discuss pressing issues of human rights. Today, we urge all members of the Human Rights Council to focus their attention on the ongoing human rights violations in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) with the same intensity and urgency as they address similar issues in other countries.

While the Human Rights Council addresses a wide range of global human rights concerns, it is crucial that the violations in the UAE are not overlooked. Failing to scrutinize and engage with the UAE on their human rights violations will perpetuate a cycle of suffering for countless individuals, depriving them of their fundamental human rights, and denying the public the freedoms they deserve.

Amnesty International has provided compelling evidence of the UAE’s prolonged and egregious violations of human rights, particularly concerning political dissidents:

In March and April 2022, 10 men arrested in 2012 as part of a crackdown on peaceful dissent and political opposition were due to be released after completing their sentences, yet they remain unjustly incarcerated. These men were among 94 Emiratis prosecuted in the ‘UAE-94’ case and were sentenced following a grossly unfair mass trial.

These men have already spent a decade behind bars for daring to speak out against the Emirati authorities or being perceived as political opposition, and now this injustice is being prolonged past their long-awaited release dates.

Amnesty International has also documented the unlawful detention of 24 Emiratis for exercising their rights to freedom of expression and association, with seven of them eventually released. The UAE-94 case is an ongoing injustice, with only one of 15 total defendants whose sentences are over having been released.

Furthermore, the case of Ahmed Mansoor is deeply troubling. He was sentenced to ten years in prison and fined for allegedly insulting the UAE and publishing false reports on social media. Ahmed Mansoor has endured inhumane conditions, including solitary confinement, which may constitute torture according to UN human rights experts.

The Human Rights Council must recognize the gravity of these violations and demand accountability from the UAE authorities. We call upon all members of the Human Rights Council to raise the issue of human rights violations in the UAE during this session, to engage with the UAE government, and to work toward ending these injustices.

We remind all nations that the protection of human rights is a fundamental responsibility, and addressing these violations in the UAE is an integral part of that commitment. Failure to do so would not only betray the suffering individuals but also undermine the credibility of the Human Rights Council.

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