Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large

Dubai plans domed Human Rights Village

Five domes will look at human rights from birth to death, health, food and water, the education and issues, with a sixth dome dedicated to Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid.

DUBAI // The series of glass domes in a valley in Cornwall, in rural south-west England, looks thoroughly out of place. Built for the millennium, they are the Eden Project, a conservation effort intended to provide people with an education experience and preserve some of the world's threatened habitats.

Now Dubai - perhaps a more fitting home for a futuristic cityscape - is planning its own domed village, with a rather different message to promote: human rights. The project is necessary, according to Dr Sultan al Jamal, director of the Dubai Police's anti-human trafficking department, because too many people in the UAE are unaware of the idea of human rights. "People here need to take the initiative and be brave and fight for human rights," he said at a panel meeting at The Shelter yesterday to mark World Human Rights Day, the 61st anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Dr al Jamal added that people needed to become more engaged in the struggle to protect human rights. "Take women, children, labourers, for example," he said. "We need to put the spotlight on them." In recent comments, Andrea al Balawi, the programme development manager for the Dubai Foundation for Women and Children, said: "Human rights - often sound or feel very abstract. "All our work is where the rubber meets the road: taking high-minded principles and putting them into practice."

The Human Rights Village, whose location has yet to be decided, will consist of five domes addressing different topics, and will be available and accessible to everyone. The first dome will focus on human rights from birth to death, the second on health, the third on food and water, the fourth on education, and the fifth will consist of a "challenging room" where issues are discussed and addressed.

Each dome will also have classrooms for training with specialists in specific areas of human rights, said Dr al Jamal. There will also be a sixth dome dedicated to Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to honour his efforts to promote human rights. Urs Stirnimann, a legal consultant based in Dubai and former delegate to the International Committee of the Red Cross, emphasised that human rights work had to start at home.

"It is more difficult to clean up your own house than to go to someone else's and tell them how to clean theirs," he said. "It needs to come from within." According to him, there is no country in the world that has not violated human rights at some point, and those violations need to be addressed. The UAE has sometimes been criticised in the foreign media and by international pressure groups for its human rights record.

Githu Muigai, the UN special rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism and xenophobia, drew attention to the problem of human trafficking in the UAE after a five-day visit to the country in October. He also called for an end to discrimination against migrant workers, and voiced concerns about the system of granting citizenship. In May, the Government expressed its disappointment at a report by the pressure group Human Rights Watch on labour conditions on Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi, arguing that the organisation had failed to recognise its concerted efforts to improve the conditions.

The report claimed conditions for construction workers on the island amounted to "forced labour". Dr Anwar Gargash, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, said the report was an attempt to sensationalise the issue. nsamaha@thenational.ae

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 Marina Square apartments Reem Island: Q1 2% rise. Studio - Dh65-68,000. 1BR - Dh75-95,000. 2BR - Dh110-145,000. 3BR - Dh170-190,000. Q1 2013-Q1 2014 no change. Sammy Dallal / The National

In pictures: Where Abu Dhabi rents have risen and fallen, Q1 2014

Find out how rental prices in the prime locations in Abu Dhabi have altered during the first three months of the year and the current rates you will pay according to data provided by Asteco.

 This comparison image shown on Reddit annotated the objects with vehicles from the movies.

What Star Wars fans say is going on in Abu Dhabi’s desert

We may still not know exactly what The National caught pictures of in the Abu Dhabi desert last week, but the online community has had plenty to say. Here are some of the best bits.

 Courtesy Al Ittihad

Time frame: It’s all going swimmingly

Built on what was originally a public park, Ain Al Faida - the flowing source - became one of the country’s first resort hotels when it opened in the mid 1970s.

 The iconic Kingdom Tower project in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Above ground work is set to begin on the tower which is expected to be taller than Dubai’s Burj Khalifa. Rendering courtesy EC Harris/Mace

Saudi’s Kingdom Tower set to go skywards as it aims for world’s tallest building tag

Above ground construction work due to start next week in Jeddah, after months of testing and preparation work.

 Jia Ruhan sang as a guest singer in famous pianist Robert Wells's concert 'rockabilly-medley' in November 2012. Handout

Meet the pop star who is key to China’s superpower ambitions

Before Beijing can achieve its ambitions to be a superpower it will need to become a respected soft power. That's where Jia Ruhan comes in.

 Screen shot from Vin Deisel's facebook page of he and Michelle Rodriguez in Abu Dhabi for the filming of Fast & Furious 7. April 2014

Fast & Furious in Abu Dhabi, a social media frenzy

Fast & Furious 7 wraps up an eventful and much-anticipated week of filming in the capital. Let's take a look at what went on via the key players' social media, while they were enjoying the delights of the desert.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National