1.0 Introduction and Research Question
Human rights issues have an effect in all regions in the world, and the international community has taken several steps to safeguard the rights of human beings at all times. The United Arab Emirates is a very robust economy, and individuals from different states reside in the country. In addition, the country is a major tourist hub in the Middle Eastern region. However, numerous cases that concern human rights violations originate from the UAE. The incidences that pertain to incognito arrests, torture in prisons, human trafficking, and lack of freedom of the press are prevalent in the country. In addition, the country has trouble in embracing gender equality in various regions of the country. The characteristics of human rights are inseparable from the matters that concern gender equality. In most situations, the female populations in the UAE are the victims of human rights violations, and many states overlook the women’s welfare. Human rights issues are of utmost importance, and countries that embrace human rights issues are fruitful at all times. The report seeks to solve the given research problem. More specifically, the report establishes if the United Arab Emirates embraces the issues that pertain to human rights.
The United Arab Emirates faces many challenges in embracing the matters that concern human rights. The incidences of human trafficking have become common in the UAE region. In addition, the cases of unfair trial and torture in the country’s prisons have significantly increased. The rank of the UAE in embracing the matters that concern human rights is 14 in the world. More specifically, the country emerged with a percentage of 71% based on a report released by International Human Rights Rank Indicator (IHRRI). The country has experienced subsequent improvements in embracing human rights issues over the years. However, these improvements do not imply that the nation is free from the activities that relate to human rights violations. Several cases of human rights violations link with the UAE, and the government has a tendency of restricting the flow of information. Thus, the international community is not aware of many cases that relate to human rights violations in the country.
1.1. Importance of the Research
The issues that pertain to human rights are of much value to all individuals in the society, and the state should ensure that human rights violations are nonexistent. The UAE has a very strong economic structure, and it is crucial for the country to embrace human rights issues. A review of the elements of human rights in the UAE will allow researchers and all concerned stakeholders to be aware of the actual situation on the ground. As a result, the concerned stakeholders can respond appropriately when addressing this problem in the UAE. Secondly, the non-dominant emirates will get a chance to air their perspectives on matters that are relevant to human rights violations. In addition, the study activities will spearhead the analysis of cases of human rights violations in other countries. Furthermore, the survey activities will enable the formulation of various recommendations that will improve the situation in the UAE, and in the end, there will be zero or minimal cases of human rights violations.
1.2. Research Objectives
The scope of the research was to answer the main question that is relevant to the study. The question is, “does the United Arab Emirates embrace the issues that pertain to human rights? Thus, it was imperative to formulate five objectives that would facilitate the analysis of the given research question. The first objective was to ascertain if the UAE state provides for the features of human rights. Secondly, the study was to assess the freedom of the media houses in the United Arab Emirates. The third goal was to investigate if the UAE state complies with the constitution and the provisions of international law. Fourthly, the research was to find out if the UAE authorities act in line with the provisions of the law. Finally, the study was to establish if UAE residents are able to access safe and conducive environment in their own nation.
2.0. Research Methodology
2.1. Research Design
2.1.1. Geographic Area
The survey projects were in the United Arab Emirates, and the aim of the research was to obtain information from all the seven emirates in the country. Dubai and Abu Dhabi are the main principalities in the UAE, but the two emirates were not enough to cater for the geographical perspective of the research. Thus, it was necessary to focus on the whole country, and the matters that concern human rights violations affect the whole country. More intently, the effect on the non-dominant emirates is more as compared to Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
2.1.2. Sample Size
The sample size of the study was about 50 to 100 individuals residing in different states. In addition, the primary target of the study was to obtain the thoughts of individuals of varying citizenship, age, gender, and economic status. Thus, the survey activities would obtain an expansive and diverse view about the matters that pertain to human rights in the UAE.
2.1.3. Sampling Method
184.108.40.206. Stratified Sampling
Stratified sampling was the sampling method that was applicable in the data collection procedures. The sampling method enables the study to review data over a specified period. The matters that pertain to human rights cut across several years, and it is necessary to analyze the information that associates with different years. In addition, stratified sampling allows the researcher to obtain data from the less prominent regions in the United Arab Emirates. The cases of human rights violations affect the less influential citizens in a particular area. Thus, it was necessary to utilize stratified sampling to ensure that the less influential regions participate in the data collection process. Furthermore, individuals of different backgrounds participate in the survey process. For instance, the men, the women, the old, the young, the poor, and the rich get a chance to express their views.
3.0. Literature Review and Focus Group
3.1. Findings and Results
3.1.1. The Levels of Freedom in the UAE
The United Arab Emirates does not embrace the aspects of freedom in the country. A report released by the Freedom House reveals that the country does not advocate for the freedom of its citizens in various sectors. As table 1 depicts, the status of the country in matters that pertain to the freedom of the citizens are “not free” between the years 2009 and 2013. The state does not allow the citizens of the country to express their views in the appropriate manner. The UAE state acts as a hindrance to the freedom of speech and association. The matters that concern human rights relate to the levels of freedom in a particular country. In addition, the freedom rating in the United Arab Emirates was very low between the year 2009 and 2013. During the whole period, the ratings were in the lower than 50%, and the citizens could not access the rights and privileges that they ought to have according to the UAE constitution and the provisions of international law.
The rates that pertain to civil liberties in the United Arab Emirates were extremely low, and the government prohibits the activities of many civil societies in the nation. There are minimal activities of civic action in the entire country, and the government has control over the activities of civil organizations that operate in the country. As depicted in table 1, between 2009 and 2013, the rates that pertain to civil liberties were very discouraging. The activities of civil societies were almost non-existent, and the civil societies in the region had a limited scope of operation. In the five years, the rates of civil liberties were below 50%. However, from 2009 to 2011, the rates of civil liberty in the UAE were slightly higher.
As shown in table 1, the rates that relate to political freedom were extremely low between 2009 and 2013, and the prevalent rates were 14% in the whole period. The citizens of the country had no say in matters that are vital in the country’s operations. In addition, the UAE government did not embrace political freedom in this period. There were no viable electoral processes in the region, and the people had little or no say when it came to matters of selecting the country’s leadership. In addition, the political elite were the main decision-makers in all of the country’s operations. In most cases, the citizens did not submit their views on political matters in the country.
3.1.2. Freedom of the Press, Legal and Economic Environment
The media houses in the UAE had limited scope of operation, and the government restricted the content that is available in the country’s airwaves. As table 2 depicts, between 2009 and 2013, the press status was “not free” and the media houses had trouble accessing the licenses that are essential for broadcasting services. In addition, the press freedom scores were very low, and in all the years, the scores were lower than 50%. The UAE state restricted the media in very many ways and the situation was far much worse in the non-free zones. In addition, the legal environment was unfavorable to the citizens of the country, and in the five years, the ratings were below 50%. The residents of the UAE lacked access to fair judicial processes and in some cases, the court rulings were unfair. The economic environment was hostile and there were inequalities between the wealthy and the less fortunate in the country. The ratings of the economic conditions in the five years were about 23% and this increased the cases of human rights violations especially in the less dominant emirates.
3.1.3. Incidences of Torture in Dubai Central Prison
The incidences of torture in UAE are prevalent and the situation is worse in the prisons. The research focused on Dubai Central Prison, and a sample size of 100 inmates was applicable. The inmates were from different countries including Tanzania, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, and Egypt. In addition, the study reviewed the key elements that pertain to human rights especially when a person is under arrest. About 96% of the inmates had no access to an advocate during police interviews. The police had the opportunity to execute illegal procedures since there were no lawyers present during questioning time. In addition, during prosecutor interviews 95% of the inmates lacked counsel and many prosecutors take advantage of this situation because the inmates have no one to defend them. During the trials, 78% of the individuals had access to a lawyer, but this was not effective since the prosecution and the police collaborated in submitting false evidence in court.
A higher percentage of the inmates did not have access to translated interview transcripts during prosecutor interviews. More intently, 91% of the inmates did not have access to the interview transcripts that were in a language they understood. As a result, the inmates could not comprehend the charges they were facing in most circumstances. In many cases, the judges obtained distorted evidence because the inmates could not understand the documents they signed during the interview process. Furthermore, in the event of a translation of the documents later, the inmates realized that the records contained inaccurate information. In many cases, there were incidences of false accusation, and the inmates had to bear the burden.
There were numerous cases of torture in Dubai Central Prison. As shown in table 4, 75% encountered physical abuse while under police custody. The police mistreated the inmates after the execution of arrests, and the legal personnel encountered restrictions when they tried to follow up on cases of torture. The incidences of torture are a gross violation of human rights and the cases that pertain to torture were common in the UAE prisons and the various holding facilities. As depicted in table 4, no one had the privilege of accessing bail, and an inmate had to spend a lot of time in remand before the trial process begins. In addition, some offences were minor, but the UAE legal system did not allow bail despite this fact.
3.1.4. The Levels of Freedom for Women in Exercising Their Rights
In 2004, the women did not have access to a fair legal process, and in most cases, there were many cases of that concerned the oppression of women. Nevertheless, in 2009, there was a slight improvement, but the ratings were still below the average mark. As shown in table 3, the rating in 2004 was 1.7 and the rating in 2009 was 2.0. Both ratings are below 2.5 and that is the average rating. The levels of independence among the women were at 2.1 in 2004 and 2.3 in 2009. In both years, the levels were below average. The women had little or no say about the activities they were supposed to undertake in society. The issues that pertain to human rights are inseparable from the gender related issues. In addition, the ratings of security for women were the same as those for independence in the two years. The UAE women faced many challenges and their well-being was not a guarantee.
As shown in table 3, the ratings for economic rights and equal opportunity are extremely low. In 2004, the rating was 2.8, and in 2009, the rating was 3.1. The improvements originated from international campaigns that empowered women to take part in business and economic activities. In the two years, the ratings were above average, and the women were influential when it came to economic matters and business opportunities. However, in some of the parts of the country the ratings that pertain to women’s’ rights were still very low. Concerning the political and civic matters, the UAE women had little or no say about the decisions that would carry the day. In 2004, the rating was 1.2, which is way below average. The women could not participate in civic actions and political activities.
In 2009, the rating was 2.0, and this was still below the average. Restrictions that hindered women from participating in civil and political activities were apparent. In many cases, the UAE women were timid to come out and execute various civil and political activities. The women in UAE did not have the privilege of enjoying their social and cultural rights. As table 3 depicts, the rating in 2004 was 2.0, and in 2009, the rating was 2.5, which is average. The women encountered difficulties in social platforms and it was very complex for the female population to correspond to the men in most instances. Moreover, the prevalent cultures in some regions did not embrace women’s rights. In most situations, the UAE women were the victims in cases that concern the violation of human rights in the society.
3.1.5. The levels of Internet Freedom in the UAE
The UAE government blocks access to the web based platforms and these platforms include social media sites, blogs, and political websites. In 2013, the arrest of several bloggers was evident in the whole country, and the state did not tolerate incidences of bloggers posting information that was unpleasant to the government of the day. As shown in table 5, the status of internet freedom was “not free” in the year 2013. The ratings of freedom were significantly low, and they were below average in the whole year. The UAE government did not improve the levels of internet access in the country, and the rating was 48%. The UAE citizens did not have access to online content in most situations, and the rating that pertains to freedom of access to online content was 31.1%. In addition, the rating of embracing the rights of internet users was 22.5%. The UAE authorities did not allow the citizens to access online content that exposes the illegal activities of the state.
3.2. Analysis and Discussions
The media is a critical asset when it comes to matters of embracing human rights in all countries. The UAE government restricts the media, and the media cannot convey information that exposes the illegal government activities in the country. From 2009 to 2013, the ratings of media freedom were extremely low. Thus, that indicates that the UAE government does not embrace the features that pertain to human rights in the country. The media acts as an organ of protection for the public, and if there is muzzling of the media, the public will not have access to crucial information. More intently, the cases of human rights violations will be extremely high because the media cannot expose the government at any point whatsoever.
The UAE government did not embrace civil liberties in the country, and it was difficult to perform civic action in the country. Civic action is necessary for all countries, and the citizens have a duty to fight for a cause if the cause is a just and right. In many cases, governments oppress the citizens, and it is the duty of civil societies and several activists to fight for the rights of the people. The country cannot function without civic action because there will be many cases of human rights violations. In the UAE, the civil liberties are completely restricted, and the civil societies can do nothing about it. The civil societies and the humanitarian groups operating in the area have a limited scope of operation. A state that does not embrace civil liberty is notorious for engaging in activities that pertain to human rights violations. More specifically, the rates of freedom that pertain to civil liberties indicate if a country embraces human rights issues or not. In the case of UAE, the rates are very low, and this indicates that the UAE state does not embrace the issues that pertain to human rights.
Democracy is essential in all states, and the nations that lack democracy encounter many cases of human rights violations. In the UAE, the citizens do not have the right to participate in the electoral processes. The ratings that relate to political rights are very low, and this shows that the UAE government does not advocate for the practices of democracy in the country. Therefore, the cases of human rights violations in the country are bound to be many. The presence of democracy in the country indicates the success of human rights in that particular country. However, in the UAE, the political frameworks do not enhance the matters that concern human rights. More intently, the major decision-makers of the country are few, as a result, the people feel oppressed at all times. The results show that the UAE government overlooks the political rights of the citizens, and this is a strong indication that the state does not embrace human rights issues.
There were many cases of torture in the UAE prisons, and the authorities executed illegal activities prior to an inmate’s conviction. In most cases, offenders encountered various activities of torture while under arrest in the different remands around the country. In Dubai Central Prison, the inmates underwent torture activities, and they lacked access to a fair trial. In most cases, the inmates did not understand the interview transcripts, and they had to sign these transcripts despite that fact that they were in a foreign language. The cases of torture at Dubai Central Prison show that the UAE government does not advocate for the issues that concern human rights. Moreover, the practices of law enforcement officers violate the principles of the international acts and the UAE constitution. The activities of torture indicate that the UAE does not embrace the matters that pertain to human rights.
The issues of gender balance are critical, and they relate closely to the elements of human rights at all instances. The UAE women encounter many cases of discrimination and lack of access to justice. The cases of domestic violence are numerous, and the UAE law allows men to utilize physical force against women in particular circumstances. As a result, the cases of oppression that pertain to the female population are extremely high. In addition, some cases of rape went unattended because the judicial system was not very eager to address the matters that affect the female population. The UAE women do not have the power to make their own decisions, and the unequal distribution of opportunities among men and women are evident. Moreover, women do not have the privilege of accessing political, civil, social, and cultural rights. There are many incidences of sexual harassment, rape, and discrimination against women. Such incidences reveal that the UAE government does not embrace the matters that concern human rights.
The web-based platforms have become a necessary feature in all countries. There are several applications of the internet, and in the present day world, the internet has become a necessity in all regions. The UAE government does not advocate for the free flow of information via web-based frameworks. As depicted by the results, the government restricts the data that is available online. Thus, the international community has trouble in detecting the illegal activities of the UAE government. In addition, law enforcement agencies executed several arrests. More specifically, the police arrested many bloggers without following the right procedures. Access to information is a necessity, and the governments that restrict access to information do not embrace the issues of human rights. The UAE government takes a strong position on matters that relate to accessing online content, and the authorities are very sensitive to the political content that is available online. The obtained results prove that the UAE government disregards the issues of human rights.
The UAE government does not advocate for the various rights that are crucial to the citizens. The residents of the nation have no say in electing the country’s leadership. In addition, the media is completely muzzled, and the there is no framework for protecting the citizens of the country. The media is a tool of the people, and if media freedom lacks it will be difficult for the UAE citizens to enjoy the privileges that associate with human rights. The UAE residents have the right to associate freely with each other, speak freely amongst themselves, and emulate their desired religion. The state should not overlook these facts. More intently, the citizens have a democratic right, and they should be the main decision-makers of the country. The incidences of torture and unfair legal methods are prevalent in the UAE region, and this indicates that the government overlooks human rights issues. An inmate is innocent until it is completely clear that he/she is guilty. The inmates have rights and the law enforcement agencies should not infringe on these rights at any point whatsoever.
Gender balance is paramount when it comes to embracing human rights issues. Nevertheless, the UAE state overlooks the issues that concern gender balance. The women in the country experience domestic violence, discrimination, and sexual harassment. Such activities are an indication that the country does not support the enhancement of the elements of human rights. Lack of internet freedom is unacceptable, and the UAE state does not accept this fact. The government restricts the conveyance of information via online platforms. It is inappropriate to arrest bloggers because of posting political information. The UAE citizens have the right to access the political information, and the government should facilitate the transmission of information as opposed to restricting it. The activists and the civil societies play an important role, and the UAE government should not restrict the civil rights of the country’s citizens at any instance whatsoever. There ought to be changes in the UAE government, and the citizens’ opinions should carry much weight in the country and not the other way around. More intently, unless the UAE state embraces human rights issues it will be difficult for the international community to classify it as a successful government.
- The UAE government should overhaul the governance structures in the country, and the elements of democracy should be evident in all the seven emirates. A country that does not embrace democracy will have trouble when it comes to enhancing human rights issues. It is necessary for the UAE citizens to participate in electoral processes, and the government should respect the decisions made by the citizens at all times. Embracing the elements of democracy will spearhead improvements in the issues that relate to human rights.
- There ought to be stringent laws that pertain to the oppression of women and the issues that concern gender imbalances. The law needs to prohibit all forms of discrimination against women and this will enhance the human rights issues in the UAE.
- Political and civil liberties should be a guarantee at all times. The state should not restrict individuals from performing civic actions and individuals from different backgrounds should have the opportunity to vie for various posts of leadership.
- The Freedom of Information should be evident at all instances. The state should not restrict the media in any way whatsoever and there should be a free flow of information in all web-based platforms.
- The state must desist from embracing actions of torture and the law enforcement officers that engage in torture activities should be accountable for their actions. In addition, there ought to be fair judicial processes in the whole country. Such procedures will ensure that the success of human rights issues becomes a guarantee in the UAE.