Sheikh Khalifa announces board of UAE's human rights authority

The National Human Rights Institution is part of a long-term vision to enhance rights and raise public awareness

Sheikh Khalifa received H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, H.H. Sheikh Humaid bin Rashid Al Nuaimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ajman, H.H. Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Fujairah, H.H. Sheikh Saud bin Rashid Al Mu'alla, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Umm Al Qaiwain and H.H. Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras al-Khaimah. At the beginning of the meeting, Sheikh Khalifa and the Rulers of the Emirates congratulated Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid on Dubai's win to host EXPO 2020, affirming that the win represents an important leap in the march of the big achievements of the U.A.E. since its establishment.

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The President, Sheikh Khalifa, has appointed the board of trustees to the UAE's landmark National Human Rights Institution and provided more information about how it will operate.

Sheikh Khalifa announced its Secretary General and stipulated which government entities could participate in the board's work, state news agency Wam reported on Sunday.

Firstly, Saeed Al Ghafli was appointed Secretary General of the authority with the rank of undersecretary.

The board will be chaired by Maqsoud Kruse, who has worked with Hedayah, the Abu Dhabi-based international organisation that aims to counter extremism through dialogue, capacity building and research.

He also served as a steering board member of the Policy, Think and Do Tanks Constituency for the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund. It was established in 2014 as a multi-stakeholder global fund that works with local partners to strengthen community resilience to violent extremism.

Mr Kruse said the National Human Rights Institution (NHRI) will oversee the government's performance on all matters related to human rights, develop proposals, make recommendations, and provide consultation to relevant stakeholders on ways to promote, protect and pursue human rights in government and private sectors.

He said the NHRI will work together with government entities, civil society, non-governmental organisations, think tanks, research and academic centres, and with international organisations such as the United Nations, to develop good practices and be able to work in accordance with international standards.

“The NHRI will develop programmes and initiatives that will foster the culture and principles of human rights, as represented in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as well as the promotion of the rule of law and equality amongst all members of the community based on the principles of tolerance, diversity and coexistence,” he continued.

Mr Kruse said at the foundational stage, he will be working closely with the Board of Trustees to develop executive plans, organisational structures and a budget, as well as the recruitment of young talent to join the NHRI.

Membership of the board has been set at four years, with a process established to select members from advisory and academic bodies, civil society institutions and those with technical expertise, given that their membership is in their personal capacity.

Sheikh Khalifa set out plans to establish the institution in August. Headquartered in Abu Dhabi, it is part of a long-term vision to advance human rights.

The other 11 board members are Fatima Al Kaabi; Mariam Al Ahmadi; Fatima Al Badwawi; Kulaitham Al Matrooshi; Nour Al Suwaidi; Rashid Al Suraidi; Ahmed Al Mansoori; Mohammed Al Hammadi; Zayed Al Shamsi; Abdul Aziz Al Noman; and Shahreyar Nawabi.

The NHRI is designed to foster a culture of human rights and raise public awareness through seminars, conferences and panel discussions. The institution also aims to provide information to authorities on whether national laws are aligned with international treaties and conventions on human rights to which the UAE is a signatory.

It will track human rights breaches and report them to relevant authorities.

Sheikh Khalifa listed the government agencies that will participate in the institution's work and attend meetings of the board. They are: the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation; the Ministry of Justice; the Ministry of Interior; the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation; and the Ministry of Community Development.

The institution is central to the UAE's aim to build firm foundations for its human rights policies.

In its development, authorities sought advice from international organisations such as the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Updated: December 19, 2021, 5:30 PM