Jamila El-Gizuli | 11 Mar 2014
Published late last month, the State Department report took note of the steps taken by the Emirati government to prevent human trafficking, raise awareness about sexual assault and violence against women, as well as coordinate efforts by police and social workers in cases of domestic abuse.
But the document also listed “citizens’ inability to change their government, limitations on citizens’ civil liberties and arbitrary arrests, incommunicado detentions and lengthy pretrial detentions,” as the three most significant human rights problems facing the federation of seven emirates.
In particular, the report noted there had been no updates about the fate of Ahmed al-Dakki (also known as Hassan al-Daqqi/Duqqi) or the al-Ummah organization, which al-Dakki founded in 2012 as the first political party in the UAE. UAE authorities had prohibited al-Ummah’s formation and the organization continues to be banned.
Criticizing the State Department for providing an “unbalanced picture of the human rights situation in the UAE,” the foreign ministry also lambasted the report for overlooking well documented evidence of the “extensive violent jihadist activities” of Ahmed al-Dakki/Hassan al-Diqqi, who identifies himself on Twitter as the al-Ummah Party’s secretary-general.
Furthermore, the ministry’s statement suggested the State Department “revise its report based on readily available public source information including U.S. media outlets and social media services as well as information recently published by the United States Department of the Treasury.”
This statement most likely alludes to reporting by the the Washington Post last year, in which al-Dakki appeared in a video with a member of the Saudi branch of al-Umma, Mohammad Saad al-Mufrih, urging Muslims to donate to Syrian fighters.
The statement also appears to refer to Abd al-Rahman bin ‘Umayr al-Nu’aymi, another member of the al-Ummah Party, who has been named a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) by the US Treasury Department for providing financial support to al-Qaida, the Somali al-Shabab, al-Qaida in Iraq, and Asbat al-Ansar in Lebanon.
The full text of the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs statement can be read here.
Heather Hartlaub | 10 Mar 2014
After a long battle, the United Nations Security Council voted unanimously on Saturday to pass a resolution to order the combatants in Syria to stop blocking humanitarian aid, though it is doubtful that the Council will be able to punish those who disobey.
Read the opening paragraphs below and see the full text here.
United Nations Security Council, S/2014/115
19 February 2014
Australia, Jordan and Luxembourg: draft resolution
The Security Council,
Recalling its resolutions 2042 (2012), 2043 (2012) and 2118 (2013), and its Presidential Statements of 3 August 20 I1,21 Mm’ch 2012, 5 April 2012 and 2 October 2013, Reaffirming its strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Syria, and to the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations,
Being appalled at the unacceptable and escalating level of violence and the death of well over 100,000 people in Syria, including over 10,000 children, as reported by the UN Secretary-General and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict,
Expressing grave alarm at the significant and rapid deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Syria, in particular the dire situation of hundreds of thousands of civilians trapped in besieged areas, most of whom are besieged by the Syrian armed forces and some by opposition groups, as well as the dire situation of over 3 million people in hard-to-reach areas, and deploring the difficulties in providing, and the failure to provide, access for the humanitarian assistance to all civilians in need inside Syria,
Emphasizing the need to respect the UN guiding principles of humanitarian emergency assistance and stressing the importance of such assistance being delivered on the basis of need, devoid of any political prejudices and aims, commending the efforts of the United Nations and all humanitarian and medical personnel in Syria and in neighbouring countries, and condemning all acts or threats of violence against United Nations staff and humanitarian actors, which have resulted in the death, injury and detention of many humanitarian personnel,
Expressing grave concern at the increasing number of refugees and internally displaced persons caused by the conflict in Syria, which has a destabilising impact on the entire region, and underscoring its appreciation for the significant and admirable efforts that have been made by the countries of the region, notably Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt, to accommodate the more than 2.4 million refugees who have fled Syria as a result of the on-going violence, while acknowledging the enormous political, socioeconomic and financial impact of the presence of large-scale populations in these countries, and underscoring the need for all parties to respect and maintain the security and civilian character of camps for refugees and internally displaced persons,