x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Federal National Council to take up EU resolution on UAE human rights

FNC members will today question the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs about a European Parliament resolution criticising the UAE's record on human rights.

Hamad Al-Rahoomi, an FNC member from Dubai, speaks during a question and answer session at the Cultural and Scientific Association in Dubai on Sunday.
Hamad Al-Rahoomi, an FNC member from Dubai, speaks during a question and answer session at the Cultural and Scientific Association in Dubai on Sunday.

ABU DHABI // FNC members will today question the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs about a European Parliament resolution criticising the UAE's record on human rights.

Dr Abdulrahim Al Shahin, from Ras Al Khaimah, will ask Dr Anwar Gargash about the UAE's response to the resolution.

The council has condemned last month's resolution, which called on the Government to respect human rights, investigate alleged torture of prisoners, and immediately free prisoners of conscience and activists.

It followed the arrest in recent months of scores of people from the Muslim Brotherhood-linked group Al Islah.

The resolution drew immediate condemnation from the UAE, with Dr Gargash calling it "biased and prejudiced", and containing "unsubstantiated accusations".

The issue has angered many members. In the most recent session a member asked for a closed meeting with the Government on the issue.

Humaid Al Qattami, the Minister of Education and head of Emirates Transport Services, will also be questioned today on ministry plans to encourage Emiratis to work as bus drivers. Only 200 of the 8,000 drivers in the country are nationals.

"It would fix a lot of problems," said Musabah Al Ketbi (Sharjah). "It would be work placements for those not holding any qualifications, and they can get benefits and health insurance, and a good salary."

Mr Al Ketbi said there was no problem with Emiratis driving buses.

"Nationals do it in Bahrain, Oman, and Saudi Arabia," he said. "How long must we rely on expatriates?"

He said Emiratis would be the best to take care of "our sons and daughters", and would reduce cases of harassment and accidents.

Mr Al Qattami will be asked by Ahmed Al Shamsi (Ajman) about reinforcing national identity in private schools.

Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, was scheduled to be questioned on mixed-sex classes at the Higher Colleges of Technology, and about the requirement for those in Arab and Islamic Studies at UAE University to take English exams.

It is unclear if he will be at the session, which will start at 9am at FNC headquarters and be open to the public.

osalem@thenational.ae