UAE's human rights institute to be accessible to all members of the public, chairman says

Institute will investigate rights complaints and publish the findings

Maqsoud Kruse, chairman of the National Human Rights Institute, has set out his vision for a better society for all. Photo: Wam
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The UAE’s National Human Rights Institute will be accessible to all members of the community, its chairman said on Thursday.

Maqsoud Kruse said it would investigate human rights complaints from the public and publish the findings.

Mr Kruse said six committees have been established to begin the institute's work and over the next 100 days, key developments in the organisation’s make-up will occur, with portals put in place for people to access its services.

Speaking at the institute's first media briefing, Mr Kruse said the organisation would work with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Quote
Wherever there are humans, there are rights
Maqsoud Kruse, Chairman of the National Human Rights Institute

“We want to ensure every single member of the community has access to the institute to share grievances or … follow up on requests,” said Mr Kruse, who previously worked with Hedayah, an Abu Dhabi-based counter-extremism group.

“People’s grievances come first. Did those who complain feel their cases are being dealt with? This is a marathon, not a quick win or because we want to make some sort of statement. We take this very seriously,” he told the briefing.

President Sheikh Khalifa established the federal body last August with the aim of ensuring national laws are aligned with international treaties and conventions on human rights to which the UAE is a signatory. It will also track human rights breaches.

It will have its headquarters in Abu Dhabi.

The six committees that will guide the institute's work include those on civil and political rights; economic, social, cultural and environmental rights; complaints, monitoring and field visits; international relations and non-governmental organisations; enhancement of culture of human rights; and legal and legislative affairs.

Mr Kruse gave a preliminary example of how the institute might assess an issue.

If a complaint is logged, a committee then conducts an independent review, with the possibility of sending field teams to analyse the situation. The institute would have the legal power to conduct an independent review and then offer recommendations.

“[We are] open to work with [entities such as] Human Rights Watch and Amnesty and others. Our main partner we hope to work with is the UN Commission on Human Rights.”

Mr Kruse said that transparency was crucial and that the institute’s reports will be sent to Sheikh Khalifa, the Prime Minister’s Office and the head of the Federal National Council.

The reports will detail complaints and how the institute addressed them, and they will also be available publicly in both Arabic and English.

“We will verify media reports and conduct our own independent investigations and review to determine the status of a situation. For every file we look at, we will publish findings.”

Responding to a question about reports about the UAE from abroad, Mr Kruse said the institute had a “duty and responsibility” to look into all kinds of claims and allegations.

He also underlined the institute was not afraid of any case and would take on all issues spanning any subject.

“Our work is limitless. We have just started,” said Mr Kruse. “All matters of discussion are open on the table. Wherever there are humans, there are rights.”

Mr Kruse previously said bolstering human rights and equality regardless of national status has long been a cause close to his own heart, due in part to his being raised by a German father and an Emirati mother.

“Whether you are a citizen or a resident, we are all equal before the law,” he told state news agency Wam.

“All matters of human rights boil down to a simple notion: human dignity.”

Updated: January 13, 2022, 4:22 PM
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