UAE: a human rights paradise


More tosh from WAM, the official Emirati news agency, which reports on a human rights symposium organised by the UAE's quasi-parliament, the Federal National Council (FNC).

WAM quotes Mohammed Ahmed al-Murr, speaker of the FNC, as saying that the UAE is "proud of its clean record of human rights and has made significant progress in upholding and protecting human rights and combating crimes of trafficking people".

WAM continues:

"Citing international recognition of the UAE's respect for human rights, he recalled that UN Human Rights Council in 2012 elected the UAE as its member for three years."

Well, not exactly. Election to the UN Human Rights Council isn't a reward for respecting human rights – otherwise Saudi Arabia, Russia and Qatar would not be included among its other members.

WAM goes on to claim:

"The UAE also won the European Parliament's award for closing the gender gap."

Checking on Google I can find no trace of such an award by the European Parliament – though in 2012 it did issue a resolution expressing "great concern about assaults, repression and intimidation against human rights defenders, political activists and civil society actors within the United Arab Emirates who peacefully exercise their basic rights to freedom of expression, opinion, and assembly".

WAM seems to have confused the European Parliament with the more obscure Women in Parliaments Global Forum (WIP) which did issue an award to the UAE in 2013. The award, based on rankings in the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report, was in a category for Arab countries only, and the UAE happened to be best of a bad bunch (ranked 107th out of 135 countries worldwide).

WAM's report continues:

"The UAE earned top marks from a Norway-based human rights group for its work to improve its society across a wide range of quality-of-life categories. The International Human Rights Indicator (IHRRI), released by the Global Network for Rights and Development (GNRD), ranked the UAE first among Arab countries and 14th globally for respecting human rights." 

Although GNRD is based in Norway it has links with the UAE which I have written about in previous blog posts, but which WAM did not see fit to mention.WAM has also failed to notice that GNRD deleted its Human Rights Indicator after the UAE's ludicrously high ranking was ridiculed on social media. A cached version of the deleted document can be found here, but a long-promised update has been subject to unexplained delays.
Posted by Brian Whitaker
Wednesday, 3 June 2015