The UAE violates the rights of women and the Beijing Declaration

This post is also available in: arالعربية (Arabic)

Geneva, 13 October 2020

The UAE has made an intervention before the United Nations General Assembly on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women and has enumerated its achievements in promoting gender equality and empowering all women and girls of their rights, in accordance with the Beijing Declaration and confirmed that the rate of women’s political participation in the Federal National Council reached 50 percent.

However, the UAE government did not disclose all the truth about the real situation of women in the country and has concealed the violations that affected women and their personal safety and rights.

In fact, women’s political participation is just a sham and the Federal National Council is just a formal council that has no powers; the authorities have even arrested those who signed the 2011 reform petition calling for an elected Federal National Council with full supervisory and legislative powers.

The ICJHR recalls of what was previously observed by the CEDAW Committee at its 62nd session in Geneva, regarding the lack of equality between women and men and the elimination of discrimination against women in Emirati constitution and laws. It also examined the numerous hardships that prevent women from accessing justice and legal remedies, and the prohibition of civil society organizations defending women’s rights, which explains the absence of parallel reports on the status of women in the UAE.

The Center also monitored women’s exposure to home raids, arbitrary arrest, enforced disappearance, torture, ill-treatment and unfair trials, in addition to the violation of their humanity in prisons, especially Al-Wathba prison.

In May 2018, recordings of detainees Amina Al-Abdouli, Maryam Suleiman Al-Balushi, and the late Alia Abdel Nour were leaked from Al-Wathba prison, stating that they were beaten, deprived of sleep, threatened and intimidated in order to extract confessions from them.

Besides, the UAE authorities refused to release the cancer sufferer Alia Abdel Nour whom health has terribly deteriorated as a result of torture, ill-treatment and health negligence. The family’s complaint to the Crown Prince of the UAE and other senior officials did not help. The authorities ignored the invitation issued in February 2019 by the UN experts and rapporteurs calling for her release, so that she can spend her last days among members of her family. However, Alia Abdel Nour died in custody on Saturday 4 May 2019. 

The UAE officials intentionally revoked the Emirati nationality from the wife and children of political opponents, human rights activists, and bloggers after their unjust conviction. Article 16, paragraph 4, that if a person’s nationality is withdrawn, it is permissible to also withdraw it from his wife and children, which is prohibited by Article 8 of the International Convention on the Rights of the Child, which the UAE has ratified. 

Wives, mothers, daughters and sisters of prisoners of conscience are also subjected to discrimination in work, study, travel and obtaining a husband’s salary. They are subjected to constant ill-treatment during prison visits, such as being prevented from seeing the detainees without prior notification, cutting off the visit under the pretext of disrupting phones, humiliating and degrading inspections, and waiting for long hours at the prison gates.

The International Centre for Justice and Human Rights calls upon the UAE authorities to stop violating the civil, political, economic and social rights of women, not to undermine their freedom and personal safety, to immediately release female prisoners detained because of their political and human rights activities such as Amina al-Abdouli and Maryam al-Balushi.

The ICJHR also urges the UAE government to open an immediate and impartial investigation into their rights’ violations and bring to justice the responsible and enable female detainees from their right to redress, reparations and rehabilitation. 

This post is also available in: arالعربية (Arabic)

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