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MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on on the case of human rights defender Ahmed Mansoor in United Arab Emirates

14.9.2021 - (2021/2873(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 144 of the Rules of Procedure

Miguel Urbán Crespo
on behalf of The Left Group

See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B9-0434/2021

Proċedura : 2021/2873(RSP)
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European Parliament resolution on the case of human rights defender Ahmed Mansoor in United Arab Emirates


The European Parliament,

-  having regard to its previous resolutions on the United Arab Emirates (UAE), notably the one of 3 October 2018, on the UAE, notably the situation of human rights defender Ahmed Mansoor,


-  having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 10 December 1948, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders of 1998,


-  having regard to the Statement by the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, on UAE: Release human rights defenders serving long-term prison sentences, urges UN expert, of 10 February 2021,


-  having regard to the statement by UN experts of 12 June 2018 calling for the immediate release of human rights defender Ahmed Mansoor,


-  having regard to the Arab Charter on Human Rights, ratified by the UAE, Article 32(1) of which guarantees the right to information and freedom of opinion and expression, and Article 8 of which prohibits physical or psychological torture and cruel, degrading, humiliating and inhuman treatment,


-  having regard to Rule 144 of its Rules of Procedure,



  1. whereas Ahmed Mansoor, has been detained since 20 March 2017 for his human rights activities, and in particular for his publications on social media; whereas he is a prominent human rights defender member of the Advisory Committee of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) and the 2015 laureate of the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders;


  1. whereas in May 2018, the Abu Dhabi Court of Appeals sentenced Mansoor to 10 years in prison for the offence of “insulting the status and prestige of the UAE and its symbols including its leaders”; whereas on December 31, 2018, the UAE’s Federal Supreme Court, upheld his sentence; whereas both his trial and appeal hearings have demonstrated grave violations of due process and fair trial guarantees;


  1. whereas for more than a year following his arrest, Mansoor’s family did not know where authorities were detaining him, which is considered an enforced disappearance; whereas he had no access to a lawyer despite it is a basic right of any detained person; whereas since his arrest, he has been confined to an isolation cell what amounts to torture; whereas he has been not allowed to have any contact with other prisoners or with his family, and deprived of basic necessities, including access to a bed, hygiene products, and reading materials; whereas he has been denied his rights as a prisoner, which are protected under international human rights law and to which the UAE supposedly adheres; whereas in protest, he has been on two separate hunger strikes which have seriously harmed his health; whereas a Mansoor´s private letter detailing his extensive mistreatment was published on July 16, 2021 and several organizations have stated that he may face retaliation from the United Arab Emirates;


  1. whereas several United Nations human rights experts have called on the UAE Government to release Mr Mansoor, describing his arrest as a direct attack on the legitimate work of human rights defenders in the UAE;


  1. whereas Ahmed Mansoor has been harassed and persecuted by the UAE authorities for more than six years before his detention and has repeatedly faced physical assault, death threats, and physical and electronic surveillance; whereas he was already sentenced in 2011 to three years in prison for insulting the country´s top officials; whereas the UAE authorities are holding his passport since 2011, imposing a de facto travel ban;


  1. whereas the court based its verdict on the penal code and the 2012 cybercrimes law, both of which make the peaceful expression of critical views of the authorities a criminal offense and provide a legal basis to prosecute and jail people who argue for political reform or organize unlicensed demonstrations; whereas repression of online speech increased with the adoption of the 2012 Cybercrimes Law;


  1. whereas the crackdown on peaceful activism calling for constitutional and human rights reforms is systematic; whereas attacks on members of civil society, including efforts to silence, torture, imprison or harass human rights defenders and activists, journalists, lawyers and dissidents among others, have become increasingly common in recent years;


  1. whereas since 2011 the UAE has arrested and prosecuted hundreds of lawyers, judges, teachers, and activists and shut down key civil society associations and the offices of foreign organizations, effectively crushing any space for dissent; whereas dozens of prisoners of conscience remained in jail on account of their peaceful political criticism; whereas they include: Nasser bin Ghaith, Abu Dhabi branch, and attorneys Mohamed al-Roken and Mohammed al-Mansoori, who were convicted in the UAE-94 trial; whereas scores of Emiratis continued to serve prison sentences in the UAE-94 case, an unfair mass trial of 94 defendants that concluded in 2013 with 69 convicted on charges of seeking to change the system of government; whereas some prisoners who have finished serving their term remain arbitrarily detained;


  1. whereas the UAE uses sophisticated spywares to target activists; whereas Ahmed Mansoor was targeted with spyware Pegasus provided by the Israeli company NSO Group after previously being targeted with spywares from FinFisher and Hacking Team, companies respectively based in Germany and Italy; whereas the basis for one of the charges against him relies on deleted email exchanges as well as WhatsApp messages between Mansoor and representatives of international human rights organizations;


  1. whereas Pegasus spyware, has been used to facilitate human rights violations around the world on a massive scale; whereas Forbidden Stories and its media partners identified potential NSO clients in 11 countries: Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Hungary, India, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Morocco, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Togo, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE); whereas NSO claims it only sells it to government clients; whereas is well-known Pegasus spyware has been used over the years by the UAE authorities to spy on their political opponents ;


  1. whereas the UAE is an active participant of the Saudi-led coalition involved in the war in Yemen; whereas the UN Group of Independent Eminent International and Regional Experts has again concluded that between July 2020 and June 2021, the international coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates has continued to commit acts that may amount to war crimes;


  1. Strongly condemns the harassment, persecution and detention of Ahmed Mansoor as well as of all other human rights defenders, political activists and civil society actors solely on the basis of their human rights work and their use of their right to freedom of expression both online and offline;
  2. Calls for the unconditional release of all prisoners of conscience and all other individuals detained and sentenced for merely expressing their right to freedom of expression, including Ahmed Mansoor, Nasser bin Ghaith and the 60 individuals convicted following the unfair mass trial known as the “UAE-94” trial; demands to drop all charges against them;
  3. Pending release, urges UAE authorities to ensure Ahmed Mansoor is treated in line with the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, including by removing him from solitary confinement, allowing him regular family visits, and providing adequate medical care;
  4. Is deeply concerned about the torture allegations to Ahmed Mansoor and urges authorities to prevent any further form of ill-treatment and to investigate fully, promptly and impartially any reported allegations of torture and bring to justice anyone suspected of involvement in such abuses, in trials which meet international standards of fair trial and without recourse to the death penalty;
  5. Calls for respect for all human rights and fundamental freedoms, in particular freedom of expression online or through traditional channels, freedom of association, women's rights and the principle of gender equality, anti-discrimination, as well as the right to a fair trial and access rights in prisons;
  6. Calls on the UAE authorities to put an immediate end to the ongoing repressive measures, to stop the harassment and immediately lift the travel ban against human rights defenders and insists that they guarantee in all circumstances that human rights defenders in the UAE are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities, both inside and outside the country, without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions including judicial harassment;
  7. Urges the UAE to allow representatives of international human rights organizations and UN experts to conduct in-country research and visiting prisons and detention facilities; calls to extend a standing invitation to the visit of all Special Procedures of the UN Human Rights Council;
  8. Condemns the increased repression and restrictions on freedom of expression online, denounces, in particular, the application of anti-cyberactivity laws and the use of spyware such as Pegasus, contrary to international law and respect for human rights;
  9. Deplores the significant arms deals by EU Member States, among others Spain, France, and Germany, with the UAE, which run counter to the EU Common Position on Arms exports; calls for an EU-wide ban on export, sale, update and maintenance of any form of weapons and security equipment to the UAE which can be or are being used not only for acts of repression or torture on UAE territory but also in the war in Yemen; calls on the High Representative to report on the current state of military and security cooperation by EU Member States with the UAE regime; urges the EU and its Member States to work on the conversion of the arms industry;
  10. Requires to the EU and its Member States to implement an immediate moratorium on the sale, transfer and use of surveillance technology to UAE;
  11. Urges the UAE authorities to amend the Counter-Terrorism law, the 2012 Cybercrimes Law and the Federal Law No. 2/2008, which are repeatedly used to prosecute human rights defenders; calls on the UAE regime to abolishing the Kafala system and to ensure that the human rights of migrant workers are respected;
  12. Despite some progress, expresses its concern about the situation of women in the UAE and calls the authorities to reform the Personal Status Law to provide women with equal rights, and to ensure Emirati women can pass nationality to their children on an equal basis as men;
  13. Reiterates its opposition to the death penalty in all circumstances and calls on the UAE authorities to introduce an immediate moratorium on the use of the death penalty as a step towards abolition;
  14. Deeply regrets the timid and fruitless diplomatic approach taken so far by the EU and its member states on Mansoor’s case; urges the VP/HR, the EU and its Member States to publicly call on UAE authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Ahmed Mansoor and anyone else detained in the UAE for exercising basic rights;
  15. Calls on the EEAS and the Commission to support in an active manner civil society groups and individuals defending human rights in the UAE, including through arranging prison visits, trial monitoring and public statements;
  16. Rejects the UAE’s attempts to cover its abuses by presenting itself as a tolerant, progressive, and rights-respecting country; asks the EU to ensure that human rights are mainstreamed across all areas of cooperation with the UAE and in this regard urges the EEAS to reconsider its informal human rights dialogue with the UAE and to suspend it until and unless it is possible to set meaningful benchmarks for human rights progress;
  17. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Government and Parliament of the United Arab Emirates, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Commission, the EU Special Representative for Human Rights, the parliaments and governments of the Member States, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the governments of the Member States of the Gulf Cooperation Council;



Aġġornata l-aħħar: 14 ta' Settembru 2021
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