x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

FNC to debate reports critical of UAE

International reports praising and criticising the UAE will be legitimate debating points for the FNC, the cabinet has decided.

ABU DHABI // International reports that are critical of the UAE will now be subject to debate by the FNC, the Cabinet has decided.

A temporary committee will be created to debate such reports, but will not be limited to responding to criticism. It will also be asked to investigate the country’s international rankings in various fields.

The Cabinet’s decision follows requests by council members for permission to hold such debates. Members have stressed the importance of such reports to the country’s reputation and their effect on encouraging foreign investment.

“And the UAE has improved tremendously in the past five years according to these reports and has beaten many countries,” they pointed out.

The committee members, who include Dr Abdulrahim Al Shahin (RAK), Dr Rashid Al Sharaiqi (RAK), Faisal Al Teniji (RAK), Afra Al Basti (Dubai), and Humaid bin Salem (UAQ), said that in addition to answering the UAE’s critics they would also debate the Foreign Ministry’s role in preserving the regional and international affairs of the state.

Debates by the committee will involve Reem Al Hashemi, Minister of State.

The move was prompted in part by a 2012 European Union resolution criticising the UAE over conditions for migrant workers, the status of women and the death penalty.

Following the resolution, Dr Al Shahin was allowed to publicly debate the issue with Dr Anwar Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Federal National Council Affairs.

During the debate, Dr Gargash said the resolution’s criticisms of the UAE were neither credible nor realistic and were based on news reports and small organisations who had their own agenda. Dr Gargash said that many diplomatic responses were made, including sending an official response to the EU Parliament.

Following this debate the council formed a human-rights committee asked to look at the matter in depth. This was formed later the same year, but has only convened a couple of times and has not yet come to the council with any concrete discussions.