European parliamentary petition calling for accountability of the UAE for its human rights violations
Seventeen members of the European Parliament have signed a petition calling for the UAE to be held accountable for its ongoing human rights violations, including the suppression of freedom of expression and torture.
The MPs directed the petition to the High Representative in the European Union, Joseph Borrell, before the Emirates’ following dialogue.
The petition states: As members of the European Parliament, we write to express our deep concern about the ongoing violations of human rights in the UAE, particularly with regard to the systematic suppression of freedom of expression and retaliation in detention.
In its decision on the UAE on October 4 2018, the European Parliament raised concerns about human rights defenders in the Emirates, specifically in this case, the activist Ahmed Mansoor.
Since then, the UAE situation for human rights defenders has not improved. Instead, it has deteriorated as many government critics have suffered from appalling detention conditions that violate existing international laws.
The use of torture and ill-treatment of inmates is widespread in the Emirates despite joining the Convention against Torture, stipulated in the UAE constitution that “no person shall be subjected to torture or other forms of insult.”
Torture is often used inside UAE prison facilities.
On January 27, 2013, a group of individuals openly criticized the UAE government and launched a petition for democratic reform. All its members were arrested and subjected to a controversial trial.
During the trial, several detainees such as Muhammad al-Roken, Khaled al-Nuaimi, and Ahmed al-Suwaidi reported being subjected to torture and inhuman or degrading treatment during detention interrogation to obtain forced confessions.
Although coerced confessions are prohibited during court proceedings, the signatories of the reform petition have been convicted in the UAE based on coerced confessions.
The use of torture was not limited to Emirati citizens. Still, there were cases of European citizens who reported being subjected to brutal torture at the UAE prison authorities’ hands.
Matthew Hedges, an academic in the United Kingdom, in 2019 in the UAE exposed to physical and psychological torture, including sleep deprivation, beatings, verbal threats of forced standing, sexual assault and electric shocks.
Concerning ill-treatment, the UAE State Security Agency’s detention centres are overcrowded, lack of hygienic conditions, and long waiting times for basic health care.
The UAE practices prolonged solitary confinement against prisoners of conscience, such as activist Ahmed Mansoor, and medical neglect, in violation of the United Nations guidelines on minimum standards for prisoners’ treatment.
An example of medical negligence in UAE prisons is detainee Alia Abdel Nour, a patient with cancer, in May 2019 while she was confined to a hospital bed.
The punishment inflicted by peaceful opponents and government critics often extends to their family members in collective punishment.
Collective punishment is a form of punishment that punishes persons or a group of persons affiliated with a convicted individual.
There are dozens of people in the UAE who have been targeted by the state security apparatus solely because of their relationship with a detained or exiled Emirati dissident.
One of the most common and harmful forms of collective punishment is the revocation of citizenship that strips individuals of their basic rights, such as access to health care, education, and employment opportunities.
Another common form of collective punishment is travel bans for people who cannot leave the country for any reason and are forced to flee illegally across land borders, often on a perilous journey.
The other illegal and illegal method used by the UAE government to suppress political activity and opposition is to prevent prisoners of conscience whose sentences have expired.
There are currently at least thirteen detainees in Emirati prisons who have completed their sentences but have been denied release.
The petition calls on the European Union to urge the UAE government to immediately and unconditionally release all political activists, human rights defenders, journalists and prisoners of conscience who have been subjected to torture and ill-treatment since 2012.
The petition urged the UAE government to investigate all allegations of torture and ill-treatment in detention, hold those responsible accountable as stipulated by law, and reform government practices in the management of prisons and detention centers to fully comply with the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners.
To ensure that dialogue discussions are duly strengthened between the European Union and the UAE, the petition called for the European External Action Service to establish a follow-up mechanism to monitor the human rights situation in the UAE.