United Arab Emirates
While the United Arab Emirates markets itself as a progressive economic safe-haven and cultural hub in the region, with offshoots of New York and Sorbonne University, as well as the Louvre museum, the human rights reality on the ground stands at stark contrast.
Freedom of opinion and expression is severely limited by a restrictive legal framework, including the Cybercrime Law, the Law on Combating Terrorist Crimes and the Penal Code, making critical civil society space non-existent. Human rights defenders and peaceful dissidents face harsh reprisals for their activism, often in the form of arbitrary detention. Torture is systematically practised to obtain confessions that are later used as the sole evidence at trial to sentence individuals to long prison terms.
Regionally, the UAE adopts an interventionist approach within the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, where it consolidated its control over large areas in the south of the country, controlling the seaport, airport, military checkpoints and some official as well as unofficial detention centres.
2015 / 2018