The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has condemned the UAE over its deplorable human rights record citing vague “anti-terror” crimes that attract the death penalty, the tightening of censorship and the detention of human rights activists.
The OHCHR has said in a report that “the UAE’s 2014 counter-terrorism law provides for the death penalty for people whose activities are found to ‘undermine national unity or social peace’ neither of which are defined in the law, which can lead to arbitrary detention.”
“This law is also applicable to children above the age of 16, in contradiction with UAE’s international obligations under the CRC,” said the OHCHR.
The report also cites irregularities with respect to pre-trial detentions including “in some cases denial of communication with the families of the detainees.”
The OHCHR also expressed concern regarding the “numerous criticisms for the criminal defamation provisions of the Penal Code, the 2012 cybercrime law, and the 2014 anti-terrorism law as they provided for trials that fell short of international human rights standards.”
Despite its social and economic progress, the UAE has failed to establish a national human rights institution that would be tasked with monitoring and protecting human rights, one of the recommendations at a previous review.
The report is among a raft of documents to be submitted before meetings later this month of the UN’s Human Rights Council (UNHRC), in which the records of the UAE and Israel, among others, are to be scrutinized.
The procedure, known as the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), is a tool that the UNHRC uses to assess the records of all 193 UN member states, every four years.