UN Human Rights Council: NPWJ submits statement on the UPR outcome of United Arab Emirates

3 Oct, 2023 | Press Releases

Geneva-Brussels, 3 October 2023

On the occasion of the adoption of the final outcomes of the Report of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Working Group for United Arab Emirates (UAE), held today at the 54th regular session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ), NGO with consultative status at the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), submitted a statement stressing that the Report under consideration is most notable not for what it says, but for what it does not say, remaining mostly silent on the misuse and exploitation of the UAE judicial system to crush legitimate political opinions, silence dissent, suppress opposition. It is also silent on the use of the state security apparatus to target human rights defenders who are subject to arbitrary and indefinite detention, illegal surveillance and harassment both inside the country and abroad, including through private security and intelligence contractors operating with apparent impunity across the world.

The world is finally taking note of this. NPWJ congratulate Council Member Belgium for having started a judicial review into the methods used by its own investigators and intelligence services, to determine whether there were any abuses and violations under the guise of “fighting corruption”, and we urge the outcome of that judicial review to be made public, so that any interference by foreign agencies or private contractors can come to light. We are also confident that Switzerland as a Council Member, and indeed as the Host Country to this Human Rights Council, will promptly investigate and where appropriate prosecute and punish any private security and intelligence contractors operating from Swiss territory to harass, intimidate and smear human rights defenders and perceived political opponents, at the behest of the UAE.

The use of the judiciary and state security apparatus by the UAE as a tool of repression, coupled with massive use of surveillance technologies, has direct and evident effects inside the UAE, where the law does not protect freedoms but have become a tool of oppression: Rule By Law, instead of Rule Of Law.  Democratic countries should be vigilant that it not be allowed to spread also abroad, through undue influence, exploiting and corrupting democratic institutions and processes abroad.