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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

Charles Tannock on behalf of the ECR Group

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 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 to the 1949 Geneva Convention;

–         Having to the 1971 United Constitution of the United Arab Emirates;

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

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


A.       whereas since July 15 2012, the UAE’s State Security has arbitrarily detained 46 human rights defenders, including two prominent human rights lawyers, and civil society activists bringing the number of political detainees to 62; whereas the whereabouts of 59 of the 62 political detainees are not currently known, nor the state of their health or well being;

D.       whereas freedom of expression is guaranteed under Article 30 of the 1971 Constitution of the United Arab Emirates


B.        whereas the detention of political detainees indicates that the authorities of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are increasing their monitoring and oversight of peaceful dissent to such an extent that it threatens to violate the right of citizens to freedom of expression and association;


E.        whereas there are reports that the UAE authorities have compounded their disregard for freedom of expression and free association by attempting to deny detainees legal assistance, as well as harassing and intimidating their lawyers;


C.       whereas the need to protect national security should never be used as a pretext for a crackdown on peaceful activism or to stifle calls for constitutional reform on human rights issues;


F.        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";


G.       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



1.        Expresses severe concerns for the well being of approximately 62 political detainees arrested this year, whose whereabouts are unknown to the international community and other interested parties concerned with their welfare; notes that jurisdiction for most legal matters is devolved to the seven individual emirates, which each have their own legal and judicial systems, but unequivocally calls upon all of the relevant UAE authorities to ensure the safety and well being of all political detainees and to ensure that they are not in any way subject to ill treatment or torture; expresses its solidarity with the detainees and their families;


2.        Reminds the Emirati authorities that every detained person is entitled to a fair trial and due process, including access to effective legal representation; Urges the authorities to respect the rule of law and ensure the fair trial of all arrested political activists;


3.       Expresses concerns about recent reports of harassment, arbitrary detention and imprisonment, acts of torture and criminal prosecution of human rights defenders in the UAE and calls upon authorities to immediately halt such activity; Calls on the Emirati authorities to guarantee that human rights defenders are able to carry out their work without fear of reprisal or retribution; calls upon the UAE authorities to open an investigation into recent allegations of physical assault and torture of those under arrest;

4.       Calls on the UAE authorities to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the freedom of expression and association as provided for under the Constitution of the UAE; calls for the lifting of restrictions on journalists and international human rights organisations; reminds the UAE authorities that prosecution of citizens for peaceful criticism of governments and state contravenes international standards and conventions;


5.       Welcomes the adoption of the new EU human rights package and urges the European institutions to take actions, together with the Member States, to ensure a clear and principled EU policy vis-a-vis the UAE that addresses the ongoing serious human rights violations; reminds the UAE that a mutually beneficial strategic and economic partnership with the EU is based not only upon shared interests but common values;


6.       Welcomes the UAE authorities' bid for membership of the UN Human Rights Council for 2013 to 2015 and urges the government of the UAE to engage in constructive dialogue with civil society organisations in preparation for the 15th session of the UN Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review.


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


8.       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.