UAE government to embark on year-long human rights review

Dr Anwar Gargash says there will be a broad consultation for UAE's action plan

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, March 3, 2020.  Federal Natinal Council meeting at the Al Khubeirah Garden.  Dr. Anwar Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Minister of State for Federal National Council Affairs during the Tuesday meeting.
Victor Besa / The National
Section:  NA
Reporter:  Haneen Dajani
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The UAE will embark on a year-long review to strengthen the country's human rights framework.

The country will draw up a National Human Rights Action Plan after consultation with government departments and various institutions.

Dr Anwar Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and chairman of the National Human Rights Committee, launched the review on Thursday, which was global Human Rights Day.

The plan will look at a broad range of issues relating to human rights including:

- women's empowerment

- humanitarian aid

- interfaith acceptance and tolerance

- labour rights and worker welfare

“320,000 people left the UAE voluntarily due to Covid-19. In addition, the country provided a lot of support for testing, treatment and quarantine," he said at a media briefing.

“There were also many problems that came along the way - some were medical, some were economic. So I believe we will come out of this pandemic with a high-level of skills in dealing with such issues. And mainly humanitarian skills.”

He said the current crisis marked the right time to look at how the country best supports its people.

Dr Gargash also said human trafficking had been the focus of a number of legal changes in recent years.

“Now, we have 14 years of experience in dealing with human trafficking. We sometimes see it on the rise, and sometime we see it dropping, depends on the rings running it," he said.

“Most revolve around sexual trafficking.

“However, the UAE conducts a clear report every year about the cases and numbers and which courts dealt with them, and rulings."

He said the country would ensure there is transparency when it came to reporting cases and helping victims.

"By following this report, society will feel there is justice from within, so transparency is very important - to know they have the right to seek justice and that the government will protect their rights," he said.

“Second, there is a lot of support for labour rights against abuse, and the UAE is being appreciated by the top counties who export labour, such as Pakistan, India, Philippines; they all appreciate what the UAE has been doing in the past 14 years."