x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

UAE defends its human rights record to UN panel

The UAE's fight against racism has a key part in its broader focus on human rights, government officials told a UN committee.

The UAE's fight against racism has a key part in its broader focus on human rights, government officials told a UN committee devoted to racial tolerance. The nation laid its record before the UN's Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination yesterday as one of 11 nations scheduled to report during a session that wraps up on August 20. Dr Abdul Rahim Yousuf al Awadhi, the assistant UAE Foreign Minister for Legal and International Organisations Affairs, said the report showed how public institutions and agencies had worked together to fight discrimination, the state news agency WAM reported.

The UAE signed a pact to join the committee in 1974, within three years of becoming a nation. "[The country] has been adhering to the provisions of the agreement and called for the right of all to live peacefully irrespective of race, colour, lineage, nationality or ethnicity at all the regional and international forums," he said. Endorsed by the Federal Supreme Court, the agreement is one of several the country has joined to ban discrimination.

"We assure you that all the human rights principles enjoy increased protection, as they are enshrined in the UAE constitution, which ensures equality and social justice for all," said Dr al Awadhi. "We are a Muslim country with Islamic values and traditions [but] we respect rights and freedoms of others to perform their worship. We are proud of [the] multicultural community in the UAE, which contributes in the socio-economic fabric."

jhenzell@thenational.ae