On International Human Rights Day, the UAE is taking steps to create a national human rights plan.
The UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Dr. Anwar Mohammed Gargash, launched the consultative process for preparing the UAE’s National Human Rights Plan in a virtual media briefing on Thursday.
Dr. Anwar Gargash, who is also the Chairman of the National Human Rights Committee, delivered a speech on the role of the UAE in promoting and developing normative and institutional frameworks for human rights.
“Today is International Human Rights Day, which is marked on December 10 every year since its inception by the United Nations in 1948,” the minister said in his opening remarks, adding that the UAE chose this day to launch the consultative process to prepare the national plan for human rights.
This year, the UN chose to focus on the global challenges COVID-19 has presented, and this year’s slogan is “Recover Better –Stand Up For Human Rights.”
“These are exceptional and unprecedented circumstances in the world, and these conditions are real and have been reflected in the social, economic, and political aspects of all countries of the world,” Gargash said on COVID-19.
The UAE has devoted its efforts to cope with this pandemic, the minister said, adding that it had delivered COVID-19 aid to a number of countries.
“I think we are emerging from this pandemic with a high degree of competence and optimism,” he said.
The UAE is set to launch a national human rights plan by the end of 2021, Gargash said in the press briefing.
During the consultative process for preparing the country’s human rights plan, Gargash said the National Human Rights committee will consult with the National Council; relevant ministries such as the Ministry of Justice, civil societies of the UAE; and other relevant bodies.
The minister said the consultative process is expected to take about seven months.
“The National Human Rights Plan solidifies the efforts made by the UAE government in the context of promoting human rights,” Gargash said.
Human rights in the UAE
“We have been participating for over 14 years in what is known as the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of human rights at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva,” Gargash said.
The minister said the UAE has done a great deal of work when it comes to human rights.
“When it comes issue of women’s rights, the country has expanded and strengthened what is a very positive record on the issue of women’s rights,” he said.
The UAE has also had a positive record when it comes to tolerance and the right to practice religious rituals, according to Gargash.
When it comes to labor rights, especially in sectors related to domestic workers and construction workers, Gargash said “a lot of work has been done.”
“All of these matters are part of a very broad system and they represent a large file of human rights in the UAE,” the UAE minister said. However, he added that he does not claim it is a “comprehensive” human rights file, as he said there are many aspects that could be improved.
The post-coronavirus phase requires further strengthening of the UAE’s position on human rights, according to Gargash, whether it’s for citizens or residents.
“The general idea is that when we evaluate the consultative process and draw up the National Human Rights Plan, this plan will be like an agenda for the coming years,” Gargash said.
The UAE National Human Rights Plan, he said, will be the product of a consultative process in this respect.
“The general idea is that we will complete the plan by the end of the third quarter of 2021, preceded by a consultative process and then a technical process before adopting this plan,” he concluded.