United Arab Emirates: United Arab Emirates: GCHR website blocked in UAE



The website of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) has been blocked in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), according to local human rights defender Ahmed Mansoor, a member of the GCHR Advisory Board. Mansoor reported on 29 January that the gc4hr.org website was blocked, whereas it had apparently been accessible before 28 January. (https://twitter.com/Ahmed_Mansoor/status/560800826265202688/photo/1).

When visiting the website in the Emirates, you will find a notice in Arabic and English stating: “Access to this site is currently blocked. The site falls under the Prohibited Content Categories of the UAE’s Internet Access Management Policy.” GCHR strongly objects to the blocking by the Emirati authorities of its website, which is a blatant violation of freedom of expression, and calls for immediate access to be restored to Emirati citizens.

The blocking of the GCHR website occurs at a time when most human rights defenders and government critics are in jail for exercising their right to freedom of expression peacefully. There are few local sources reporting on human rights violations in the UAE. According to the GCHR’s upcoming annual report, “2014 saw a continuation in the targeting of human rights defenders and the imposition of restrictions on the right to freedom of expression and assembly in the UAE. On-line activists were arrested and handed down lengthy prison sentences. The Anti-Terrorism Law enacted in August 2014 has already been used against human rights defenders and it is feared that this legislation will be used increasingly as a tool to hinder their work.”

The GCHR is an independent, non-profit and non-governmental organization that works to provide support and protection to human rights defenders (including independent journalists, bloggers, lawyers, etc.) in the Gulf region by promoting freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly. See: www.gc4hr.org