UAE draft law on human rights being framed, Gargash says

190909 Anwar Gargash
Dr Anwar Mohammed Gargash.
Image Credit: AFP

Abu Dhabi: The UAE National Human Rights Plan will focus on strengthening the legislative system, promoting civil and political rights and will represent an action plan for the coming years, Dr Anwar Mohammed Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, said on Thursday as he launched a comprehensive process to prepare for the plan.

“UAE is currently preparing a draft law for the National Commission for Human Rights. Upon its completion, it will be presented to the Federal National Council (FNC) for discussion and approval,” Dr Gargash said. He added that the UAE was keen to launch a concerted National Plan for Human Rights to mark the International Human Rights Day, which falls on December 10 every year. The plan serves as a comprehensive and integrated national human rights framework in the UAE for the coming years.

Regional and international commitments

The plan aims to strengthen the UAE’s efforts and underscores the measures it has taken in the context of its regional and international commitments. Dr Gargash stressed that the UAE was keen to develop its institutional frameworks for human rights. The national plan will help build on the national policies, plans and strategies adopted by the UAE Government that promote human rights and will be part of the UAE’s Vision 2021.

The consultative process is expected to take about seven months, taking advantage of our success in combating the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr Gargash said. “The UAE has devoted its efforts to facilitate all matters for all those on its land for about 200 nationalities. It has been a forerunner in providing the best conditions to cope with the exceptional situation and provide health care to expatriate workers, of whom, about 340,000 have left the country voluntarily and of their own free will.”

Dr Gargash said the first step in these preparations would be to examine the gains, efforts and achievements in human rights in the UAE. The following step would be to conduct a consultative process with civil society institutions in the UAE and launch a community dialogue involving universities, academic institutions and others, in order to involve more people in the preparation of the plan, which will ultimately serve the interests of the community.

He said the plan will be ready by the end of the third quarter of 2021, and it will lay down a roadmap “to promote human rights, including matters of litigation, education, women, employment, health, people of determination, and human trafficking – an area we take pride in as we have one of the most stringent laws against human trafficking in the region”.

The UAE has participated in the comprehensive international reviews organised by the Human Rights Council in Geneva for 14 years and presented three reviews and made changes into many files related to the financial sector, women, and the judicial system.

During the Vienna Declaration and its Action Programme, adopted in 1993, the World Conference on Human Rights had recommended that countries consider developing national action plans that will outline the steps through which they intend to promote and protect human rights. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has also prepared guidelines on the preparation of national action plans in this area.

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