On 26th May 2014, The United Arab Emirates refused to admit a British barrister, Victoria Meads of Garden Court Chambers in London, to the country and further announced that she is banned for life from entry. It is feared that this ruling is as a direct result of her work as a human rights advocate.

Ms Meads had previously visited the UAE in October 2012 on behalf of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR), the Arab Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) and Human Rights Watch (HRW), when she sought to evaluate and to seek responses to a highly critical European Union resolution on the UAE which expressed grave concerns over the treatment, repression and intimidation of human rights defenders, political activists and civil society actors who peacefully exercise their basic rights to freedom of expression, opinion and assembly.

The report completed by Ms Meads on that occasion detailed how the authorities had refused to cooperate with the enquiry and failed to answer any of the allegations raised in the EU resolution. The full report can be read here. [1] She concluded in her report that the findings of “the European Parliament are clearly accurate in the absence of any evidence to the contrary."

It appears that the UAE has much to fear from independent human rights monitoring. When the state’s official response to critical reports of its human rights record is, to ban the author for life, it suggests that they have no acceptable answers to give.

The GCHR is deeply concerned that this disproportionate response against an independent human rights monitor who has sought to ask legitimate questions about the UAE record on human rights, that they claim to uphold in their dealings at the United Nations and in the international community at large. It is incumbent on states that take up seats on the United Nations Human Rights Council, as the UAE has done, to be open and honest about their own human rights record.  The UAE is failing in this regard. 

The GCHR calls on the authorities in UAE to open up the country to proper scrutiny and to provide honest answers to the questions that continue to be asked over their human rights record.

For more information, please contact, Ms Melanie Gingell, British human rights lawyer and member of the GCHR board, at: 




[1] http://gc4hr.org/report/view/10