UAE's new human rights chief outlines vision to improve society for all

Maqsoud Kruse, newly appointed chairman of the National Human Rights Institute, said racism and discrimination have no place in Emirati life

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 new human rights champion has laid out his bold vision to bring communities together and eliminate racism and discrimination.

Maqsoud Kruse, who has been appointed chairman of the National Human Rights Institute, said the organisation will strive to improve lives and ensure equality in society.

President Sheikh Khalifa issued a federal law in August to establish the independent body.

Mr Kruse said the institute will work closely with international bodies such as the UN to preserve and enhance human rights.

"The National Human Rights Institution’s main objective is to enhance human rights within the UAE for all those who live in this country," Mr Kruse told state news agency Wam.

"Whether you are a citizen or a resident, we are all equal before the law."

He said bolstering human rights and equality was a cause close to his own heart, in part because he was raised by a German father and an Emirati mother.

He stressed the importance of investing in a future which "will allow us to grow, to enhance, to develop, and most importantly to flourish as one people of the UAE, both citizens and residents".

The NHRI will deliver this message of unity through seminars and workshops and produce annual reports to assess the status of human rights in the UAE, in partnership with relevant authorities, he said.

"All matters of human rights boil down to a simple notion: human dignity," he said.

"For us to work together as a community, we need to be able to understand how we can function in a constructive, healthy way, where matters of racism and discrimination are no longer part of the dynamics of any society."

The NHRI works on all aspects of human rights in the UAE, including the rights of women, children, people with special needs and workers.

"Our aim is to make sure that all those who are in the UAE can actually enjoy their presence in this country, be aware that their rights have been preserved, and that they are able to communicate their concerns," Mr Kruse said.

On a mission to improve lives

"We aspire to meet the expectations of the UAE’s citizens and residents."

Mr Kruse said his mother was one of the first generation of women to serve with the police in the Emirates, helping to embolden his own sense of duty to the UAE.

"It makes it so important to me because I realise how the potential of this country can actually make the difference," he said.

"But it also makes me understand the type of challenges and concerns that all people in the UAE may have, but most importantly what are the opportunities that we can provide and how we can continue to enhance human rights in the country."

Mr Kruse, who earned his Master’s degree in Organisational Psychology from the University of Melbourne in Australia and his Bachelor's degree in Psychology from the United Arab Emirates University, explained that being a psychologist helped him understand the value of human behaviour.

"What it means to be human at the core level, how your feelings or emotions actually matter, how we can make sure that your sense of well-being and your sense of existence and presence remain at the core of all the policies that the UAE is developing and endorsing," he said.

He said advancing human rights would be key to the UAE's continued development over the next 50 years.

Updated: December 23, 2021, 12:57 PM