The Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, Mohammed bin Rashid, issued a controversial decree to place civil society institutions under the government’s tutelage.
Emirates Leaks followed up a decree that stipulates that private entities of public interest (civil society institutions) are subject, under the legislation, to the supervision and control of the Community Development Authority in Dubai (a government institution).
The restrictions will include controlling the entity’s financial resources, and verifying its sources of revenue and expenditures, provided that the government takes the necessary measures and measures against institutions.
The new decree restricts the freedom of civil society institutions and places them under the government’s tutelage instead of independent societal institutions, and prevents them from any social activities that contradict the directions of the government.
Last month, the human rights organization, CIVICUS, included the UAE on its human rights watch list due to “the increasing decline in the state of civil liberties, and the severe restrictions imposed by this Gulf country on the work of activists, journalists and civil society groups.”
The organization based this on three reasons. The first is the continued detention of pro-democracy activists since 2012 by the UAE authorities.
According to the organization, the second is the newly adopted new cybercrime and anti-rumour law, a law that threatens freedom of expression.
The third reason is that the UAE authorities continue to monitor human rights activists and use spyware attacks against them.
The CIVICUS watch list draws attention to countries where respect for civil liberties has declined, especially freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and freedom of association. It is a list updated every 3 or 4 months and then submitted to the Human Rights Council, United Nations experts and international agencies.
CIVICUS selects the watchlist from a vast network of members, partners and data drawing from various data sources.
The list is drawn up through a research collaboration of more than 20 research partners, and this research includes quantitative findings on civic space, the most recent violations in the country, information from the latest state updates, and a variety of these data points to identify countries where there has been a rapid decline in civic space.
A few days ago, Civicus launched the new watch list through its electronic platform, Civicus Monitor, which tracks the latest developments in civil liberties in 197 countries and territories. The new list includes the UAE, El Salvador, Russia, India, Kazakhstan and Tunisia.
Civicus Monitor classifies civil space in the UAE as closed, and 25 countries in the world are included in this classification. This classification usually includes countries that know a complete closure – in terms of law and practice – of civil space, and any criticism of the ruling authorities is severely punished. In practice, the freedom of the media.
CIVICUS is an international non-profit organization consisting of a global alliance dedicated to promoting the work of citizens within civil society around the world. It was founded in 1993, and its members are in more than 145 countries. It is based in Johannesburg, along with Offices or branches in London, Geneva and New York.