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UAE welcomes preliminary findings of UN Report on Human Rights

posted on 09/10/2009: 784 views

New York - The UAE on Thursday welcomed the preliminary findings of a United Nations official on human rights as "constructive" and a "recognition" of the government's proactive initiatives.

The government's response came after Githu Muigai, UN Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, made his initial observations following a four-day fact-finding mission to the UAE.

Commending the government's "cooperation and openness", the UN official said: "The recent review of the UAE by the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and by the Universal Periodic Review of the Human Rights Council demonstrates that the authorities are willing to find ways and means of addressing human rights challenges faced by the people in the UAE and to ensure compliance with international human rights standards." Reacting to the assessment, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr Anwar Gargash said: "The government welcomes the UN rapporteur's appraisal and views it as a step forward in the process of constructive dialogue towards addressing the challenges that the country faces." The visit of the UN rapporteur, the first of its kind to the UAE, came at the invitation of the government during the country's Universal Periodic Review before the Human Rights Council in Geneva in March.

Muigai, a Kenyan human rights lawyer, travelled to Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Ras Al-Khaimah between 4-8 October to meet officials from various departments and ministries, including interior, justice, labour and foreign affairs, Federal National Council Affairs and the National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking.

The UN official, who described the UAE as "one of the most culturally-diverse countries on earth", also met civil society representatives, lawyers, academics and members of the public during his visit.

As part of the mission, Muigai discussed and made observations on issues related to national identity, bidoons, education, human trafficking, women and human rights of expatriate workers.

"The findings are a recognition of the UAE's efforts to promote and develop human rights along international standards," Dr Gargash said.

In his concluding remarks, the UN official stressed that the task of "enhancing the enjoyment of human rights in the society of the United Arab Emirates must be borne by all parties, including government, citizens, residents and civil society organizations".

Promising continued cooperation, Dr Gargash said: "The government looks forward to further engagement with the Human Rights Council in the pursuit of fulfilling the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights." While a more detailed analysis of the UN mission's findings is expected to be presented to the Human Rights Council in June 2010, the UN rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography is expected to visit the country shortly. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


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