The United Arab Emirates will present its universal periodic review to the United Nations on May 8, 2023. In this review, the UAE will explain the efforts it has made to enhance respect for human rights and the implementation of its international obligations.
According to a coalition of 53 human rights NGOs, the UAE is first among the nations of the Middle East for its leadership on and commitment to human rights values and principles.
The coalition of NGOs submitted its report on the UAE to the U.N. at an international event devoted to reviewing human rights developments in the Emirates. More than 11 international experts spoke and more than 100 experts, researchers and academics participated. They all reviewed the UAE’s accomplishments in promoting civil, political and economic rights over the past 50 years.
The participants noted the UAE’s work on advancing civil liberties such as freedom of opinion and expression, strengthening the justice system, protecting prisoners and detainees, and enhancing community protection through the establishment of counseling, reform and rehabilitation centers. Also discussed was the Emirate’s record on collective rights and the development of national institutions concerned with the protection and promotion of human rights.
During the symposium, the UAE’s record on these issues was praised, especially regarding women’s rights, children’s rights and the rights of vulnerable groups. Experts also highlighted the UAE’s achievements in protecting workers’ rights, combating human trafficking, tackling extremism and terrorism, and promoting a discourse of tolerance and coexistence. These principles are represented in the Emirates’ Document of Human Fraternity and the establishment of the Abrahamic Family House.
The NGO coalition organized an international symposium in Geneva parallel to the 52nd session of the U.N. Human Rights Council. It discussed the challenges of further promoting human rights in the UAE. Eight international experts in the field of human rights spoke, reviewing many aspects of the issue. Also noted were the UAE’s efforts to combat climate change, including its global efforts to reach zero emissions and carbon neutrality.
The symposium further highlighted the UAE’s achievements in the field of sustainable development, as well as its participation in the implementation of the U.N.’s global plan for sustainable development. The UAE was praised for strengthening rights and liberties in the Emirates and upgrading the institutional systems that protect these rights.
All of this was presented in written statements to the 52nd session of the Human Rights Council.
The NGO coalition also submitted two statements to the Council in which they praised the UAE’s efforts and leadership in promoting women’s rights. The statements honored the President of the UAE’s Supreme Council for Women Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak and her country’s efforts to empower women, place them in regional and global leadership positions, and advance their struggle for justice and equality.
The NGO coalition concluded its presentations to the Council with a statement praising the efforts of UAE President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed to achieve peace and promote tolerance, coexistence and human brotherhood. In particular, bin Zayed was praised for establishing the Abrahamic Family House.
The presentations underlined the importance of promoting new regional and international practices so that the region and the world can benefit from the UAE’s pioneering efforts in the field of protecting human and collective rights, improving quality of life and achieving justice and equality for all without discrimination.
Manel Msalmi is a Brussels-based human rights advocate.