DUBAI // Free speech in the UAE is under attack, Human Rights Watch claimed yesterday.
It did so at a public press conference in a Dubai hotel.
The human rights advocacy group said the country had made strides in labour rights, but referred to what it called growing restrictions to freedom of speech, focusing on the conviction and subsequent pardon of five Emiratis, including one of the group's activists, as well as the revocation of the citizenship of six Emiratis who are members of a Muslim Brotherhood-linked organisation.
Three of the men whose citizenship had been revoked attended the session at the Four Points By Sheraton, as did media representatives.
Labour issues, which have traditionally been a central focus of the group, received significantly less attention this year.
HRW did praise the UAE's adoption of the International Labour Organisation convention on conditions for domestic workers, but said the Government would have to provide domestic workers with labour protections equivalent to those of other workers in the country.
The group also noted that living and working conditions had improved in the Emirates, but was awaiting reports from the Tourism Development Investment Company (TDIC), the developer of the Guggenheim and Louvre museums in Abu Dhabi and the New York University Abu Dhabi, on workers' conditions on Saadiyat Island.