The Federal National Council on Tuesday approved a law establishing the National Commission for Human Rights in the UAE.
Dr Anwar Gargash, Diplomatic Adviser to President Sheikh Khalifa, called it an "important step towards strengthening the human rights file in the country and a building block on the road to celebrating the 50 years" since the UAE was founded.
The FNC session was presided over by Speaker Saqr Ghobash and Minister of State, Khalifa Al Marar who said establishing the Commission will strengthen the UAE’s efforts towards fighting discrimination and its commitment to international human rights treaties.
“There is no doubt that establishing such an authority will strengthen the culture of tolerance and coexistence, and the country’s efforts towards protecting human rights,” Mr Al Marar said.
Passing the draft law that establishes the Commission at the FNC on Tuesday, “marks the efforts that have been spent since 2008… and today we have achieved this accomplishment; an independent authority for human rights”.
UN member states have been advised to establish such authorities in accordance with the Paris Principles for the promotion and protection of human rights, he said, and each country was free to implement that as it sees fit.
“The country has received 41 recommendations from UN member states to establish a National Commission for Human Rights based on the Paris Principles.
“The Ministry [of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation] has worked on accommodating all recommendations and including them in a national plan set by the cabinet,” Mr Al Marar said.
In December, the National Human Rights Committee launched the first stage of its consultative process to prepare the National Human Rights Action Plan, led by Dr Gargash.
“The committee, which includes a number of local human rights organisations, has been studying the experiences of other countries who established similar authorities, in order to learn from their experiences,” said Mr Al Marar.
The 1993 Paris Principles, adopted by the UN General Assembly, encourages countries to establish national human rights institutions based on an internationally recognised set of standards for credibility, independence and effectiveness.
Speaking at the Council meeting on Tuesday night, FNC deputy speaker Hamad Al Rahoomi, said the draft law “comes at a crucial time when many [parties] are abusing the human rights law, and are using it against other states, including our country”.
“So the UAE and the FNC will benefit from this [draft law], especially in international events.”