ABU DHABI, 30th August, 2022 (WAM) — The National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) held its seventh meeting on Tuesday at the headquarters of the Presidential Court, headed by Dr. Anwar Gargash, Diplomatic Adviser to the UAE President and Chairman of the NHRC.
The meeting was held in the presence of Committee members, representatives of institutions and government agencies in the country, and Maqsoud Kruse, Chairperson of the National Human Rights Institution (NHRI).
Attendees discussed the preparatory process for the UAE’s fourth national report on the Universal Periodic Review of human rights and follow-up on the implementation of the recommendations accepted by the UAE after the adoption of its third national report at the Human Rights Council in June 2018, which included recommendations on legislative, institutional, economic, cultural, social, civil, and political rights and rights of groups.
Dr. Gargash underscored the significant strides made by the UAE over the past four years to enhance its human rights record. In this regard, the country has benefited from its successful experience in reviewing three national reports within the Universal Periodic Review mechanism as of 2008.
He affirmed the UAE’s support for this important mechanism through which United Nations member states review their national efforts in the field of promoting human rights, as well as contributing to the exchange of information, experiences, and best practices.
Dr. Gargash pointed out that the UAE, after adopting its third national report at the Human Rights Council in June 2018, developed an action plan to implement the 132 recommendations. Moreover, the UAE worked on strengthening its national human rights mechanisms by establishing the National Human Rights Institution in accordance with the Paris Principles under Federal Law No. 12 of 2021.
Concerning legislation, the past four years witnessed the adoption of many important laws, including but not limited to the issuance of a decree on protection from domestic violence and the law on the protection of witnesses, as well as broad legislative amendments that included penal laws, laws combating discrimination and hatred, personal status amendments, and laws concerning criminal procedures, civil transactions, and commercial companies to keep pace with changing needs and align with international human rights conventions to which the UAE is a party.
Regarding policies and strategies, the UAE has adopted numerous plans to promote human rights, the most important of which are the UAE Gender Balance Council Strategy 2026, the Net Zero by 2050 strategic initiative, the National Policy on Vaccinations, the National Family Policy, the Family Protection Policy, the National Policy for Senior Emiratis, and the National Food Security Strategy 2051.
Moreover, the UAE launched a post-COVID-19 recovery strategy, as well as other initiatives and plans, while the women’s empowerment and leadership strategy is currently being updated. In consultation and cooperation with the NHRI, the Committee is also working with civil society institutions and relevant authorities in the UAE to prepare the National Human Rights Plan.
During the meeting, NHRC members reviewed the efforts, programmes, and measures undertaken by each party to implement the recommendations of the third periodic review.
At the end of the meeting, the NHRC outlined a schedule for the preparation of the fourth national report, consultative meetings with relevant authorities, and discussions to strengthen technical cooperation on the Universal Periodic Review process between the NHRC and the UN Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review Working Group in Geneva.
In October 2019, the UAE Cabinet established the NHRC, ten years after the establishment of the Standing Committee to follow up on the Universal Periodic Review of human rights. This amendment came as part of efforts to address current needs in the human rights field and strengthen the UAE’s aim to develop national human rights mechanisms.
The NHRC is the liaison between all UAE institutions concerned with human rights. It works to develop and supervise the implementation of a comprehensive national plan, formulate policies, programmes, and plans to raise awareness, and build capacity in the human rights field while enhancing cooperation with regional organisations and UN human rights bodies and committees.
The NHRC is also responsible for following up on the periodic reports submitted by the UAE to regional and international human rights bodies, including the national report of the Universal Periodic Review.