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UAE: Revocation of citizenship of seven human rights defenders and deprivation of basic human rights

2012-01-16

Beirut, 16 January, 2012 -- On 29 December 2011, the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) issued an appeal concerning a decree revoking the nationality of six human rights defenders, Sheikh Mohammad Abdul Razak Al-Sediq, Dr. Ali Hussain Al-Hammadi, Dr. Shahin Abdullah Al-Haosni, Mr. Hussein Munif Al-Jabri, Mr. Hassan Munif Al-Jabri and Mr. Ibrahim Hassan Al-Marzouqi. According to further information received, the nationality of a seventh human rights defender, Mr. Ahmed Ghaith Al Suwaidi, was also revoked approximately seven months ago.

All seven individuals are advocates of reforms and were members of the “Society of Reform and Social Guidance” whose board of director was dissolved by the authorities. The members subsequently brought a case to the courts seeking for this order to be reversed.  Some of the defenders had signed a reform petition, directed at the UAE Head of State in March 2011, which called for reforms in the legislature, including through ensuring a proper election of the National Council and by allowing it to perform its role and powers in full.

In December 2011, the human rights defenders were called to report to the immigration office in Abu Dhabi where they were ordered to hand over all forms of identification documents, including their passports, driver’s licenses, National Registration Books, and medical card as well as their National ID, a document which is required for a large number of transactions in the UAE, including banking transactions.

The authorities have told the human rights defenders that they must now find sponsors as they do not currently have any legal status in the UAE. They were warned that if they did not have such sponsors they would be in violation of the law and may face imprisonment.

The seven human rights defenders are currently being deprived of many basic human rights. As a result of their citizenship being revoked they are being denied the right to work and to earn a livelihood as well as the right to have legal status. The business of Dr. Ali Hussain Al-Hammadi, Chairman of the Center for Creative Thinking, cannot operate as he is not entitled to work. According to information received, the authorities circulated the name of Dr. Al-Hammadi’s training centre to all government entities so that they will not deal with his centre. As a result, the centre has reportedly lost some big contracts, which may have serious consequences on the running of the centre and its employees.

The human rights defenders have not been shown a copy of the decree, which revoked their citizenship, nor have they been provided with any details or grounds for the revocation. The GCHR believes that the revocation of their citizenship is directly related to their human rights activities and the legitimate exercise of their right to freedom of association.

The revocation explicitly contradicts Article 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which guarantees everyone the right to a nationality and states that no one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality.

The GCHR see the revocation decree of the citizenship of Sheikh Mohammad Abdul Razak Al-Sediq, Dr. Ali Hussain Al-Hammadi, Dr. Shahin Abdullah Al-Haosni, Mr. Hussein Munif Al-Jabri, Mr. Hassan Munif Al-Jabri, Mr. Ibrahim Hassan Al-Marzouqi and Mr. Ahmed Ghaith Al Suwaidi as a continuation of the trend of targeting activists by the government of the UAE.

The GCHR calls on the authorities in the UAE to:

-Immediately and unconditionally revoke the order depriving Sheikh Mohammad Abdul Razak Al-Sediq, Dr. Ali Hussain Al-Hammadi, Dr. Shahin Abdullah Al-Haosni, Mr. Hussein Munif Al-Jabri, Mr. Hassan Munif Al-Jabri, Mr. Ibrahim Hassan Al-Marzouqi and Mr. Ahmed Ghaith Al-Suwaidi of their citizenship;

 - Immediately ensure that all identity documents are returned to Sheikh Mohammad Abdul Razak Al-Sediq, Dr. Ali Hussain Al-Hammadi, Dr. Shahin Abdullah Al-Haosni, Mr. Hussein Munif Al-Jabri, Mr. Hassan Munif Al-Jabri, Mr. Ibrahim Hassan Al-Marzouqi and Mr. Ahmed Ghaith Al Suwaidi;

-Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in UAE are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions including judicial harassment.

The Gulf Centre for Human Rights calls your attention to the rights and fundamental freedoms guaranteed in the United Nations Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms” in particular to Article 5 (b) which states that: For the purpose of promoting and protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms, everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, at the national and international levels: (b)To form, join and participate in non-governmental organizations, associations or groups;”  Article 6 (c) “Everyone has the right, individually and in association with others: (c) To study, discuss, form and hold opinions on the observance, both in law and in practice, of all human rights and fundamental freedoms and, through these and other appropriate means, to draw public attention to those matters” and to  Article 12.2, which provides that “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration”.

Please write immediately in English or in Arabic:

 • To express your concern about the severe mistreatment received by the seven human rights defenders and the total silence of the authorities toward these serious violations;

• • To urge the authorities in the UAE to immediately and unconditionally revoke the order depriving the seven human rights defenders of their citizenship;

• • • To express your concern and refusal to the severe suppression of the legitimate rights such as freedom of expression, assembly, and association by the UAE authorities of its citizens, in particular the activists.

Please Send Appeals now to:

Vice-President and Prime Minister

H.H. Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum

Office of the Prime Minister

POB 2838

Dubai,

UAE

Fax: +971 4 3531974

E-mail: info@primeministre.ae

 

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior

 H.H. Sheikh Saif Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan

POB 398

Abu Dhabi

UAE

Fax: +971 2 4414938  

 

Minister of Foreign Affairs

H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahya

POB 1 

Abu Dhabi

UAE

Fax: +971 2 4447766

 

Minister of Justice

His Excellency Dr. Hadef Jawa'an Al Dhaheri

POB 753

Abu Dhabi

UAE

Email: moj@uae.gov.ae

Fax: +971 2 681 5155

 

For more information, please contact:

Bahrain:  Nabeel Rajab (Arabic and English)                        +973-396-333-99

Lebanon: Khalid Ibrahim (Arabic and English)                      +961-701-595-52         

The Gulf Centre for Human Rights is an independent centre and has been registered in Ireland. The Centre works to strengthen support for human rights defenders and independent journalists in Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.