Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan with his counterpart John Kerry (photo credit: Xinhua)

Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan and his counterpart John Kerry (photo credit: Xinhua)

On March 10th, the UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement in response to the U.S. State Department’s 2013 human rights report on the country.

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.




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