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MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on the Human Rights situation in the United Arab Emirates

23.10.2012 - (2012/2842(RSP))

with request for inclusion in the agenda for a debate on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law
pursuant to Rule 122 of the Rules of Procedure

Véronique De Keyser, Ana GomesPino Arlacchi; Liisa Jaakonsaari on behalf of the S&D Group

See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B7-0476/2012

Postup : 2012/2842(RSP)
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European Parliament resolution on the Human Rights situation in the United Arab Emirates


The European Parliament,

-          having regard to its resolution on EU relations with the Gulf Cooperation Council of 24 March 2011;


-          having regard to its annual human rights reports;


-          having regard to the EU Strategic Framework and Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy;


-          having regard to the EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders of 2004, as updated in 2008;


-          having regard to the Co-Chairs' statement 22nd GCC-EU Joint Council and Ministerial Meeting in Luxembourg 25 June 2012;

-          having regard to the cooperation agreement of 25 February 1989 between the European Union and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC);

-          having regard to the Joint Action Programme (2010-2013) for implementation of the EU-GCC Cooperation Agreement of 1989;


-          having regard to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR);

-          having regard to the Arab Charter on Human Rights, to which the UAE is a party;

-          having regard to Article 30 of the UAE’s Constitution;


-          having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948;


-          having regard to Rule 122(5) of its Rules of Procedure,




A.       whereas crackdowns and repression on human rights defenders and political activists in the UAE have intensified in the recent months;


B.        whereas following a series of arrests, 62 human rights defenders and civil society activists have been arrested, many arbitrarily detained, tortured and held incommunicado; whereas the detainees have been denied legal assistance;


C.       whereas the detainees include the vice-president of the UAE Student Association, Mansoor al-Ahmadi, one sitting judge, Mohamed al-Abdouly, two former judges,Khamis al-Zyoudiand Ahmed al-Za’abi,and two prominent human rights

lawyers Mohamed al-Mansoori and Mohamed al-Roken.


D.       whereas human rights defenders and democracy activists have been subjected to harassment, travel bans, restrictions on freedom of expression and freedom of assembly, arbitrary detention, revocation of nationality, deportation, and illegal imprisonment;


E.        whereas a prominent political activist critical of the government, Ahmed Mansoor , was attacked twice in recent weeks and has suffer constant intimidation and threats ; whereas he spent seven months in jail in 2011 before his conviction in November for insulting the country’s top officials; whereas the authorities retain  his passport and have arbitrarily barred him from traveling;


F.        whereas on 15 July 2012, in his statement, the Public Prosecutor , announced that the detained group of political opponents would be investigated for plotting “crimes against state security”, “opposing the UAE constitution and ruling system”, and having ties to "foreign organizations and agendas;


G.       whereas the authorities have closed down at least one online discussion forum and blocked access from the UAE to several political websites


H.       whereas while the freedom of speech and press freedom are constitutionally protected in the UAE, its penal code allows the authorities to prosecute people for speech which is critical of the government;


I.         whereas prominent internationally renowned non-governmental organisations promoting democracy in the region have been closed in 2012 by the UAE authorities;


J.         whereas the UAE has still not ratified the International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR);


K.       whereas foreign migrant workers continue to suffer severe forms of human rights abuses and violations , exploitation and unequal treatment , in particular construction and domestic workers, who make up 95% of the foreign labour force in the country;


L.        whereas in 2011, the UAE adopted the ILO Convention on Decent Work for Domestic Workers;


M.       whereas the UAE’s Labour Law does not permit trade unions to exist or to function freely; denies the right to collective bargaining and to strike;



N.       whereas women continue to face discrimination in law and in practice; whereas many female domestic workers in the UAE suffer from unpaid wages, forced confinement and physical and sexual abuse;


O.       whereas the government made little or no progress in implementing the CEDAW Committee’s recommendation in early 2010;


P.        whereas death sentences continued to be passed in the UAE;



1.  Strongly condemns any assaults, repression and intimidation against human rights defenders, political activists and civil society actors within the UAE who peacefully exercise their basic rights to freedom of expression, opinion, and assembly; calls on the UAE authorities for an immediate halt to the ongoing crackdowns;


2.  Calls for immediate and unconditional release of all prisoners of conscience and activists including human rights defenders;


3.  Urges for the immediate cessation of all attacks and intimidation on human rights defender Ahmed Mansoor; calls on the UAE authorities to conduct thorough and impartial investigations into the assault and public threats made against his life;


4.  Calls for the respect of all human rights and fundamental freedoms, including freedom of expression, both online and offline, freedom of assembly, women’s rights and gender equality, fight against discrimination, and the right to fair trial ;


5.  Calls on the UAE authorities to investigate all allegations of torture and the ill-treatment of prisoners of conscience and activists in UAE and bring those responsible to justice;


6.  Calls for the organisation of a fact finding mission, led by the UN Human Rights Council, to assess the situation of human rights violation in the country in particular the intensifying crackdowns and arbitral arrest of political activists;


7.  Insists that that all human rights defenders in UAE are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals, and free of all restrictions including judicial harassment;


8.  Calls on the UAE government to take concrete measures for the improvement of the situation of human rights defenders and civil society in the country; calls on the UAE government to set up an independent Human Rights Commission;


9.  Urges the UAE government to urgently undertake reforms of the UAE’s legal and regulatory framework which facilitates the abuse of migrant workers in the country, especially women who are the most vulnerable to exploitation and gender based violence;


10. Welcomes the UAE’s accession to the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment on July 19 and urges the UAE authorities to affirm its commitment to its assumed treaty obligations;


11.  Welcomes the UAE’s 2012 adoption of the International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention on Decent Work for Domestic Workers; urges the UAE to affirm its commitment to abide by its provisions by extending key labour protections to domestic workers, such as weekly days off, limits to hours of work, and a minimum wage;


12. Expresses serious concern at the persistence of trafficking in women and girls for the purposes of economic and sexual exploitation;



13.  Reiterates its strong opposition against the use of the death penalty and urges the UAE authorities to declare an immediate moratorium;



14.  Calls on the Vice-President of the Commission/High representative of the Union and the European Commission to put special emphasis on the respect of human rights at the next EU-GCC Ministerial meeting.


15. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the governments and parliaments of the Member States and the Government and Parliament of the United Arab Emirates