x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Paris is defending human rights in the wrong way

Letters writers say Paris' decision to ban denying the Armenian genocide is driven by a desire to gain Armenian votes; other topics include burial procedures, property developers and disaster management.

France's Armenian genocide bill, which incited protests in Paris, was inconsistent, a reader says. Martin Bureau / AFP
France's Armenian genocide bill, which incited protests in Paris, was inconsistent, a reader says. Martin Bureau / AFP

The Arabic News Digest item Armenian genocide bill in France provokes a predictable but unfortunate Turkish reaction (December 28) misses the point.

The newly approved law that says "anyone in France who publicly denies the Armenian genocide by the Ottomans can be jailed for up to a year and fined €45,000 [Dh216,000]" raises the question of why the French parliament passed such a law.

One obvious reason this was raised was the desire of President Nicolas Sarkozy to gain the votes of French Armenians in the 2012 presidential elections.

Mr Sarkozy acknowledged last year in Kigali at the memorial of the Rwandan genocide that "Paris had made mistakes over the 1994 Rwandan genocide".

His visit to this central African country in 2010 was the first visit by a French official meant to construct new relations with Rwanda after diplomatic ties were cut between Paris and Kigali in 2006.

During Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's visit to France in 2007, French officials also accepted France's responsibility in the torture and massacre of nearly 1.5 million Algerians between 1830 and 1962.

The French should face their past policies and re-examine the devastating human, social and economic consequences. They should first ask for forgiveness from Rwanda and Algeria - and freeze their membership in international human rights organisations - and only then could they pass such a law in parliament.

Gaye Caglayan, Dubai

Burial a burden for bereaved families

It is not as easy for expatriate Muslims to arrange a burial as your editorial Ease bureacracy on repatriation (December 28) suggests.

Due to bureaucratic rules of some nations from which many Muslims living in the UAE hail from, it is compulsory to get a certificate from the country's embassy before someone can be buried in the UAE.

This is not the UAE's rule but the requirement of countries that require notification before the burial of their citizens.

From personal experience, I can tell you that it can take up to three to four days to obtain such paperwork from the embassy. Besides the fees, the process is definitely a hassle for a bereaved family.

U Ubaid, Abu Dhabi

More than meets the eye on Gulen

The news article Preacher's followers cool support for AKP (December 26) describes the influence of Fethullah Gulen on the ruling party in Turkey but I believe Mr Gulen has a greater influence on America and its citizens.

Bill Clinton attended in September 2008 a dinner organised by the Gulenists and made a speech that surprised both Turks and the Americans. He said to the audience that Mr Gulen contributed to the promotion of the ideals of tolerance and interfaith dialogue.

Whether the motivating factor for Mr Clinton's speech was a profound admiration for Mr Gulen's activities or his contributions to Hillary Clinton's campaign, this was an unfortunate statement for a former US president.

Mr Gulen and his followers have built a network of educational institutions, non-government organisations and businesses in almost every continent since the 1970s.

Leaving his native country for America in the 1990s due to suspicions that he had a secret agenda to promote an Islamic state within secularist Turkey, the preacher and his schools should be viewed with scepticism.

Ali Sedat Budak, Abu Dhabi

Developers must focus on quality

I refer to the article Property market is being rebuilt (December 27).

As someone who works in the construction sector, I see that the biggest problem for the market is that developers generally follow a policy of reducing the costs of buildings at the expense of their quality.

In the short term, this policy might seem clever. But if confidence is to be raised, it is more "clever" for the market to focus on quality.

Tugrul Gun, Dubai

Apply disaster plan to buildings

The move for hospitals in Abu Dhabi to develop and implement disaster management plans is a great initiative (Hospitals given new disaster plan rules, December 18). It is critical that organisations assess their exposure to both man-made and natural hazards with a view to implementing preventative measures.

From my own experience, many organisations focus their energies on the response to a disaster when the real value should be focusing on prevention. It's more economical to engineer safety and building codes at the design stage of the project rather than trying to retrofit.

Randall Mohammed, Dubai