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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

José Ignacio Salafranca Sánchez-Neyra; Anna Maria Corazza Bildt; Cristian Dan Preda; Mario Mauro; Bernd Posselt; Elmar Brok; Roberta Angelilli; Tunne Kelam; Philippe Boulland; Eija-Riitta Korhola; Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris; Zuzana Roithová; Monica Luisa Macovei; Sari Essayah; Giovanni La Via; Laima Liucija Andrikienė on behalf of the PPE Group

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

Postopek : 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 of 24 March 2011 on European Union relations with the Gulf Cooperation Council,

–         having regard to the visit that the European Parliament's Delegation for relations with Arab Peninsula to the United Arab Emirates from 29 April to 3 May 2012

–      having regard to the statement by the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative (VP/HR) following the EU-Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Joint Council and Ministerial Meeting of 20 April 2011 and her Remarks following the  22nd EU-GCC Joint Council and Ministerial Meeting, on 25 June 2012


–        having regard the new EU Strategic Framework on Human Rights and Democracy adopted on 25 June 2012


–         having regard to the Arab Charter on Human Rights, to all of which UAE is a party,

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

–         having regard to the Human Rights Watch World Report 2012 on UAE of January 2012,

–         having regard to the 1949 Geneva Convention,

–         having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948,

–        having regard to Rule 122 of its Rules of Procedure,

A.       whereas since March 2011 there have been gentle calls for democratic reforms and free expression that have been disproportionally suppressed by Emirati authorities and security forces; whereas UAE's accelerating crackdown on peaceful domestic dissent has attracted no comment from its strategic partners despite compelling evidence about UAE's regression concerning human rights;


B.        whereas in May 2012 in the framework of the official Delegation visit to the UAE, the DARP inter-parliamentary delegation raised its concerns on the situation of the respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms with the relevant authorities;


C.       whereas since 15 July 2012, the UAE's State Security has arbitrarily detained 49 human rights defenders and civil society activists, including Mohammed al-Mansoori and Mohammed al-Roken, bringing the total number of political detainees this year to 64;


D.       whereas the UAE authorities have claimed that its crackdown is a response to a foreign-inspired Islamist plot that aims to overthrow the government - the detainees all have ties to al-Islah, a peaceful Islamist group that has operated in the UAE since 1974 - but the evidence indicates that national security is the pretext for a crackdown on peaceful activism, to stifle calls for constitutional reform and on human rights issues such as statelessness;


E.        whereas a number of activists openly critical of the Government have been arbitrarily deprived of their Emirati nationality;


F.        whereas the authorities have compounded their disregards for free expression and free association by attempting to deny detainees legal assistance, harassing and intimidating, and in some cases deporting their lawyers; whereas more and more arbitrary arrests are taking place without presentation of arrest warrants;


G.       whereas Ahmed Mansoor, an Emirati human rights activist and blogger, has been assaulted several times during last months and can not leave his country as the State Security prosecutor holds arbitrarily his passport since 8 April 2011; whereas together with other activists he was accused of insulting the political figures in the country after arranging for and signing a petition calling for greater political participation via an elected parliament with complete legislative and regulatory power; whereas on November 2011 they were convicted of publicly insulting the country's top officials but their sentences were commuted by the UAE President after spending nearly 8 months in jail; whereas the trial was described by international observers and relevant UN working groups as fundamentally unfair and lacking due process for fair trial;


H.       whereas in March 2012 UAE authorities closed down the Dubai office of the National Democratic Institute and the Abu Dhabi office of German pro-democracy think-tank Konrad Adenauer-Stiftung; whereas the UAE's 2008 Law on Association tidily controls NGOs permitted to operate in the UAE;


I.         whereas on 25 June 2012 the EU Foreign Ministers adopted a new EU Strategic Framework and Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy, pledging that human rights, democracy, and the rule of law will be promoted "in all areas of the EU's external actions without exception" and that the EU will "place human rights watch at the center of its relations with all third countries, including strategic partners";


1.        Expresses its concerns about the UAE authorities' ongoing serious crackdown on peaceful dissent that advocates of moderate reforms in the UAE, by arresting activists, disbanding the elected boards of civil society organizations, and preventing peaceful demonstrations; expresses its solidarity with the detainees and their families;

2.        Expresses its concerns about the harassment, arbitrary detention, imprisonment and criminal prosecution that human rights defenders are facing due to their critics to the government, and urges the authorities to put an end to this acts; Calls on the Government to guarantee that human rights defenders are able to carry out their work without fear of reprisal;


3.     Reminds the Emirati authorities that every detained person deserves a fair trial, with adequate access to a lawyer and enough time to prepare a defence; Urges on the authorities to ensure a fair trial on all peaceful activists, that includes PhD holders, medical doctor, judges, prosecutor, bloggers, writers, academics and teachers, lawyers and consultants;

4.    Reminds the UAE authorities that all forms of prosecution based on speech criticizing the government are in contravention of international standards;


5.    Calls on the Emirati authorities to restore and respect human rights and fundamental freedoms, including freedom of expression and assembly, and the protection of migrant workers, to lift all restrictions for journalists and international human rights organisations and to open an investigation into recent physical assaults, allegations of torture and arrests;


6.  Welcomes the adoption of the new EU human rights package and urges the European institutions, including the EU Special Representative for human rights, to take concrete actions, together with the 27 EU Member States, to ensure a clear and principled EU policy vis-à-vis the UAE that addresses the ongoing serious human rights violations, including through demarches, public statements and initiatives at the Human Rights Council; welcomes the UAE authorities' bid for membership of the UN Human Rights Council for 2013 to 2015;


7.  Calls on the Vice-President of the Commission/High representative of the Union and the European institutions to place human rights at the centre of its relations with all third countries, including strategic partners, with special emphasis on the next EU-GCC Ministerial meeting;


8. Believes that it is crucial to continue the efforts to increase the cooperation between the EU and the Gulf region and to promote mutual understanding and trust; considers that regular inter-parliamentary meetings between the EP and its partners in the region are an important forum to develop a constructive and frank dialogue on issues of common concerns;


9.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, and 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, the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Government and Parliament of the United Arab Emirates.