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US praises UAE's human rights record

posted on 06/03/2004: 688 views

The United States has praised the UAE's human rights record and acknowledged the country's efforts to ensure better prison conditions and ban on torture. In its annual Human Rights Country report for 2003, the US Department of State also recognised the UAE's tough legislations against child labour and noted its recent law which bans the recruitment of children as camel jockeys.

The department, which is always critical of human rights records in most of the developing countries, also highlighted Dubai's 'Victim Care' programme introduced recently by its human rights department to help prisoners, according to a report by the Dubai-based Gulf News today. Entitled 'Arbitrary or Unlawful Deprivation of Life', the 15-page report said there were no reports of unlawful deprivation of life committed by the UAE government.

"There were also no reports of politically motivated disappearances. As for torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, the constitution prohibits torture and there were no reports that government officials employed it," the paper quoted the department's report as saying. "Prison conditions generally met international standards and the government permitted visits by independent human rights observer. However, rural prison conditions at times were inadequate," added the report released this week. Referring to Dubai's efforts to improve conditions at its prisons and help prisoners during and after their jail terms, the report highlighted the emirate's 'Victim Care' programme which was introduced last year by the Dubai Human Rights Department (HRD).

"The programme provides psychological, emotional and legal assistance to victims of sexual crimes, crimes against children and other offences. The programme aims to protect victims from further harassment," it said, referring to the recent decision by Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance and Industry, to grant Dh150,000 to the HRD to support the victim care programme.

It noted that while the UAE's federal constitution prohibits arbitrary arrest and detention, incommunicado detentions are allowed in some cases. It said the government generally uses this in sensitive criminal cases in which the police believe that communication between the accused and a third party could jeopardise their investigation. (The Emirates News Agency, WAM)


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