United Arab Emirates kicks out human rights defenders

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Navi Pillay

Authorities in the United Arab Emirates have launched a crackdown on human rights defenders, according to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The activists are being subjected to harassment, denial of travel, termination of work contracts, arrests, denaturalization and expulsion from the country.

On Monday, prominent human rights activist Ahmed Abdul Khaleq was deported to Thailand, while the head of the Union of Jurists, Mohamad Al Roken, was arrested and detained along with his son and brother-in-law.

The High Commissioner is calling on the UAE government to guarantee that human rights defenders are able to carry out their work without fear of reprisals and release those who have been detained. Rupert Colville is the Spokesperson for the UN Human Rights Office.

"It appears that national security is increasingly being used as a pretext to clamp down on peaceful activism, to stifle calls for constitutional reform and on human rights issues such as statelessness. A number of activists openly critical of the Government have been arbitrarily deprived of their Emirates nationality. Mr. Abdul Khaleq was found guilty in November 2011 along with four other human rights defenders of "publicly insulting" senior officials, but was later pardoned by the President. He was detained once again in May this year. His case is of particular concern because he is a stateless person, which makes him extremely vulnerable. He says he was never told why he was arrested for the second time, and was never taken to court."

Duration:  45″

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