United Arab Emirates: UAE: Authorities revoke citizenship of children of human rights defender Mohammed Abdul Razzaq Al-Siddiq

12.03.16

United Arab Emirates (UAE) authorities have revoked the citizenship of the children of a detained human rights defender who is one of the UAE94, Mohammed Abdul Razzaq Al-Siddiq, leaving them stateless and with no proof of identity.

On 07 March 2016, two daughters, Asmaa and Doaa, and a son, Omar, of Mohammed Abdul Razzaq Al-Siddiq were called to report to the Department of Migration in the Emirate of Sharjah the following day. They were ordered to bring all official documents with them including their passports, driver’s licences and medical cards. They were informed later on that there was an order made against them revoking their citizenship but they were not allowed to view the order when they asked for a copy of it.  

Mohammed Abdul Razzaq Al-Siddiq is currently serving a ten-year sentence handed down at the UAE94 trial. The notorious trial, which began in 2013, failed to meet minimum international fair trial standards and has been widely condemned by human rights organisations and UN human rights bodies. In 2011, his citizenship was arbitrarily revoked after he signed a petition to the ruler of the UAE calling for legislative reforms to ensure a fair election of the National Council. On 25 March 2012, he was arrested and detained following postings he made on Twitter criticising parts of a speech given by the Governor of Sharjah.

The targeting of his family members is a gross injustice and a direct result of the exercise of his right to freedom of expression. This is not the first time that family members of the UAE94 have been targeted. On 15 February 2015, for example, sisters of Dr Issa Al-Suwaidi were subjected to enforced disappearance and not released until May.

The Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) expresses serious concern at the baseless revocation of the citizenship of Asmaa, Doaa and Omar Al-Siddiq and regards it as being directly related to their father’s peaceful human rights activities and his calls for reform. It is another example of how the authorities employ illegitimate tactics to hinder and discredit the work of those who strive for the promotion and protection of human rights.

The GCHR calls on the authorities in the UAE to:

  1. Immediately and unconditionally reinstate the citizenship of Asmaa, Doaa and Omar Al-Siddiq and return their official documents to them;
  2. Release human rights defender Mohammed Abdul Razzaq Al-Siddiq and all human rights defenders who are detained as a result of their human rights work;
  3. Guarantee the safety and security of all family members of human rights defenders;
  4. Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in the 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 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”.