x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

UAE report on human rights accepted by United Nations body

The UAE accepted 100 recommendations, partially accepted or noted 61 others and rejected 19.

The UN Human Rights Council yesterday accepted a report by the UAE in Geneva, marking the end of the country's participation in a public review of social conditions.

Dr Anwar Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, said the UAE fully adopted 100 recommendations made by 88 member states in January as part of the Universal Periodic Review, which takes place every four years.

Another 61 recommendations were partly accepted or noted, and 19 were rejected.

"Our efforts stem from our national values and cultural heritage, which enshrine justice, tolerance, equality and international responsibility," Dr Gargash was quoted by the state news agency Wam as saying.

"Respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms is an essential component of our principles, and we are proud of the progress we have made in improving the quality of life of our citizens."

The UAE was one of 14 countries being reviewed by the council this year.

The country's last review was in 2008. After that, the UAE adopted 38 out of 74 human rights recommendations made by the council and made nine additional voluntary pledges.

It rejected some others, including calls to abolish the death penalty, extend freedom of assembly and association, and grant migrant workers more rights.

Among the accepted recommendations in this review was the establishment of a national human rights institution.

Dr Gargash also said the UAE would continue to focus on improving human rights in areas of migrant labour, women's empowerment and human trafficking.

Next, the UAE's standing committee on the Universal Periodic Review will work to implement the accepted recommendations.

They were determined by the Cabinet based on the Constitution, national legislation and local culture.

"The small number that were rejected were determined to be in conflict with our legal and cultural frameworks," Dr Gargash said, without giving details of them.

Among the accomplishments he spoke of in Geneva was the establishment of a law to better protect children in accordance with international standards, which is in the final stages of approval.

And he said that "work is advancing rapidly to introduce partial amendments to the media law, which would aim to guarantee the freedom of expression and freedom of the press".

This week, amendments were made to the 2006 trafficking law to help the UAE adhere to the Palermo agreement, an international legal protocol attached to the UN Convention against Transnational Organised Crime.

The Federal National Council's human-rights committee met for the first time last month.