Alert: Afghanistan one year on: open season on the defence of human rights
United Arab Emirates
28.06.22
Reports

The Committee against Torture must hold the United Arab Emirates accountable

The authorities in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have prosecuted and imprisoned scores of human rights defenders, political activists, journalists and critics, and systematically silenced peaceful dissenting voices. The crackdown on the right to freedom of expression has been so severe that, today, freedom of speech and civic space are virtually non-existent in the country.

Particularly concerning is the situation of prominent human rights defender Ahmed Mansoor, who has been detained in inhumane conditions since 2015. This includes permanent solitary confinement in unhygienic conditions without a bed, mattress or pillow, which has caused his mental and physical health to deteriorate.

The United Nations Committee against Torture will review the UAE at its July session. Civil society organisations submit so-called "alternative reports" as part of the review process. This initial review comes almost ten years after the UAE ratified the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Degrading or Inhuman Treatment or Punishment (UNCAT).

Together with the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR), the International Service for Human Rights (ISHR), the International Campaign for Freedom in the UAE (ICFUAE), we have submitted a report that is based on the extensive documentation of ongoing torture and abuse in prison, including the use of prolonged solitary confinement.

The alternative report calls on the UAE to remove reservations to the UNCAT and ratify its Optional Protocol, and to ensure effective legal redress by investigating and prosecuting perpetrators of torture. The UN should press the UAE authorities to allow UN Special Rapporteurs to visit prisoners of conscience. We further recommend that the authorities allow an independent investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of woman prisoner Alia Abdel Nour in 2019, and hold accountable the parties responsible for her alleged torture, abuse and neglect.

Tragically, the CAT review comes too late to seek justice for Polish fitness expert Artur Ligęska who wanted to launch a legal complaint for his torture and mistreatment in Al-Sadr prison in 2018-2019, and seek compensation for his torture and wrongful imprisonment. Ligęska died in May 2021 after suffering great physical and psychological distress.

Read the report here.

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