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HRC54: UAE must respect human rights and end repression of defenders and civil society

Emirati woman human rights defender Jenan Almarzooqi and ISHR urge the UAE to implement recommendations of the Universal Periodic Review, release political prisoners, stop arresting and intimidating defenders, put an end to its repressive practices and respect human rights.

Emirati woman human rights defender Jenan Almarzooqi delivered a statement on behalf of ISHR urging the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to implement the Universal Periodic Review recommendations on civic space, including releasing political prisoners, stop arresting and intimidating human rights defenders, putting an end to its repressive practices and respect human rights.

Read and watch the statement below: 

I am dismayed that the UAE has rejected the recommendation to release prisoners who have completed their prison sentences. 

For 10 years with my mother and siblings, we waited for 22 July 2022, the end date of the sentence of my father, Abd Alsalam Darwish Almarzouki. And after a decade of family separation, we were devastated that he was not released. He remains detained with no release date, under the pretext of ‘Counseling’. 

My father is one of 60 prisoners who remain in detention despite completing their prison sentences. Those prisoners have families and a life to go back to. 

The refusal of the United Arab Emirates to adopt this recommendation means that the families have to wait indefinitely for the release of their loved ones. It is a flagrant violation of international law, and arbitrary as concluded by the working group on arbitrary detention in 2013. 

We are also concerned that the UAE rejected recommendations 147 to 159 calling for authorities to ensure a safe environment for human rights defenders and guarantee freedom of expression. This is particularly concerning given that the country is due to host COP28 and that safe civil society participation is essential for climate justice and humanity’s future. 

It seems that the unfortunate fate of Emirati human rights defenders is either prison, like Ahmed Mansoor and Dr. Mohammed Al-Roken, or to live and die in exile, such was the case of my colleague and friend Alaa Al-Siddiq, the former director of ALQST. 

We urge the UAE to implement these recommendations, to release political prisoners, stop arresting and intimidating human rights defenders, put an end to its repressive practices and respect human rights.

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