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UAE's statement on the report of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of judges and lawyers of her mission to the UAE

posted on 19/06/2015: 1774 views


GENEVA: The UAE is committed to the continuous strengthening of the promotion and protection of human rights, the UAE Permanent Representative to the UN and other international organisations in Geneva, Obaid Salem Al Zaabi, has emphasised as he delivered before the UN Human Rights Council the Statement of the United Arab Emirates on the report of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of judges and lawyers of her mission to the United Arab Emirates from 28 January to 5 February 2014.

'As a Member of the Human Rights Council, the UAE is particularly committed to cooperate with the Council's mechanisms. Accepting this visit helped to fulfil a recommendation made to the UAE during its second Universal Periodic Review in 2013.

We engaged in a co-operative and constructive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the independence of the judicial system in the UAE. We note that in her report, the Special Rapporteur thanked the Government of the UAE for its engagement and noted the UAE's commendable progress and achievements in a relatively short timeframe,' he told the UN human rights body.

The UAE, he added, would take into consideration the recommendations that are well-founded and will improve our legal and judicial system.

'The report however contains untrue allegations, on which some of the conclusions and recommendations are based, without specifying the criteria used in evaluating sources and information received and in deciding upon which to rely, or the names of relevant individuals or dates and particulars of specific cases. The lack of any detail regarding these allegations renders it practically impossible for the Government to investigate and adequately respond to them. We encourage delegations to refer to our detailed response to other statements contained in the report, which has been issued as an official document,' he noted.

'We know that promoting human rights is an on-going process that requires continuous effort to review legislation and strengthen institutions. The UAE is in the process of following-up on the one hundred recommendations that it accepted and the additional seven that it partially accepted during its second UPR. The UAE is also currently in the process of developing a new draft federal law on the judiciary, which will strengthen protections for the independence of the judiciary and the right to a fair trial.

In closing, the UAE reiterates its commitment to continue to engage constructively with the Special Rapporteur in carrying out her mandate.

'The UAE will carefully consider the recommendations contained in her report as part of our on-going efforts to strengthen our judicial system and to enhance the implementation of human rights laws and principles which the UAE has adopted,' he concluded.

Full text of the statement follows: Mr President, The United Arab Emirates was pleased to welcome the Special Rapporteur on the Independence of judges and lawyers from 28 January to 5 February 2014. The UAE is committed to the continuous strengthening of the promotion and protection of human rights. As a Member of the Human Rights Council, the UAE is particularly committed to cooperate with the Council's mechanisms. Accepting this visit helped to fulfil a recommendation made to the UAE during its second Universal Periodic Review in 2013.

We engaged in a co-operative and constructive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the independence of the judicial system in the UAE. We note that in her report, the Special Rapporteur thanked the Government of the UAE for its engagement and noted the UAE's commendable progress and achievements in a relatively short timeframe.

The UAE will take into consideration the recommendations that are well-founded and will improve our legal and judicial system.

The independence of the judiciary is guaranteed by Article 94 of the Constitution of the UAE, which provides that judges, in discharging their duties, are subject to no authority other than the law and their own conscience. In a further guarantee of their independence, judges may not be removed from office during the discharge of their duties. Professional training in human rights is provided to judges and prosecutors.

The Constitution and laws of the UAE contain numerous fair trial protections, including the presumption of innocence and the right to counsel. Torture and degrading treatment are prohibited, and the UAE is a State party to the UN Convention against Torture. Detainees are visited by the Emirates Human Rights Association, a registered non-governmental organisation which monitors conditions of detention and reports publicly on its findings. Prisoners are guaranteed access to health care by law and every prisoner has the right to submit complaints.

Independent rankings score the UAE highly on rule of law and independence of the judiciary. The World Justice Project ranked the UAE 27th out of 102 counties in its 2015 Rule of Law Index. The World Economic Forum, in its 2014-2015 Global Competitiveness Index, ranked the UAE 22nd out of 144 countries for judicial independence.

The report however contains untrue allegations, on which some of the conclusions and recommendations are based, without specifying the criteria used in evaluating sources and information received and in deciding upon which to rely, or the names of relevant individuals or dates and particulars of specific cases. The lack of any detail regarding these allegations renders it practically impossible for the Government to investigate and adequately respond to them. We encourage delegations to refer to our detailed response to other statements contained in the report, which has been issued as an official document.

We know that promoting human rights is an on-going process that requires continuous effort to review legislation and strengthen institutions. The UAE is in the process of following-up on the one hundred recommendations that it accepted and the additional seven that it partially accepted during its second UPR. The UAE is also currently in the process of developing a new draft federal law on the judiciary, which will strengthen protections for the independence of the judiciary and the right to a fair trial.

In closing, the UAE reiterates its commitment to continue to engage constructively with the Special Rapporteur in carrying out her mandate. The UAE will carefully consider the recommendations contained in her report as part of our on-going efforts to strengthen our judicial system and to enhance the implementation of human rights laws and principles, which the UAE has adopted. – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395282086459.html

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