United Arab Emirates: Urgent Action: UAE- Number of human rights defenders & activists in detention reaches 77 as brutal crackdown continues


The numbers of those detained in the UAE as a result of their human rights activities has reached 77 following the arrests of four Egyptian activists. On 14 December 2012 an Egyptian journalist was arrested and three Egyptian doctors were arrested four days later reportedly bringing the total number of Egyptian activists in detention in the UAE to 11.

These latest arrests and the growing number of activists in detention is stark evidence of the relentless and on-going campaign of repression and violation of human rights taking place in UAE at the hands of state authorities.  Human rights activists have been subjected to various kinds of harassments and intimidation including suspension of their bank accounts, travel bans and interrogation and intimidation of their relatives and supporters.  The Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) has issued previous appeals concerning the deteriorating situation in the UAE (For further information please see http://gc4hr.org/news/index/country/2)

It is reported that approximately 200 people who are supporters or relatives of human rights defenders and activists are being prohibited from travelling.  For many of them it is only when they have attempted to leave the UAE, often having purchased tickets in advance, that they are informed of this restriction on their freedom of movement.

On 2 January 2013, the wives of at least four detained human rights activists were interrogated for approximately four hours by the Chief Prosecutor and it is reported that some of them were accused of having links to the nonviolent Islamic group Al Islah and three of them were forced to provide their passports as bail. The following day, the wives and sisters of ten other activists were called to report to state security for various reasons, none of which stated that they were to be interrogated. However, according to information received those who reported to state security were subsequently interrogated. Others did not attend as they felt it was a guise used by state security to interrogate them regarding the activities of their husbands and brothers.  It is feared that more interrogations and arrest will take place in the near future.

Some of the detained human rights defenders have had their detention extended, including prominent human rights lawyers Dr. Mohamed Al-Mansoori and Dr. Mohamed Al-Roken, who had their detention extended on 2 January 2013. It is reported that these extensions are granted as officials have, to date, failed to gather evidence to prosecute those detained.

The GCHR is extremely concerned for the physical and psychological integrity of all human rights defenders in addition to their supporters and relatives in the UAE in light of the on-going repression and intimidation against them. The GCHR calls for an immediate end to this ruthless campaign by the state authorities.  

The GCHR urges the authorities in UAE to: 

  1. Immediately and unconditionally release all human rights defenders and activists held in the UAE as a result of their peaceful and legitimate human rights activities;
  2. Guarantee the physical and psychological integrity and security of all detained human rights defenders and activists in UAE;
  3. Immediately desist the intimidation of relatives and supporters of human rights defenders and activists;
  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 GCHR respectfully reminds you that 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, adopted by consensus by the UN General Assembly on 9 December 1998, recognises the legitimacy of the activities of human rights defenders, their right to freedom of association and to carry out their activities without fear of reprisals. We would particularly draw your attention 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”.

Please write immediately in English or in Arabic:

1. To express your concern about the detention of the 77 human rights defenders and activists demanding their immediate release;

2. To urge the authorities in the UAE to immediately stop targeting human rights defenders;

3. 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
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
Fax: +971 2 4414938


Minister of Foreign Affairs
H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahya
Abu Dhabi
Fax: +971 2 4447766


Minister of Justice
His Excellency Dr. Hadef Jawa'an Al-Dhaheri
Minister of Justice
POB 753
Abu Dhabi
United Arab Emirates
Email: moj@uae.gov.ae
Fax: +971 2 681 5155