As the United Arab Emirates (UAE) welcomes visitors to the Gulf state for the Formula 1 racing series this week, international human rights groups organized an urgent mission to the UAE to investigate freedom of expression violations.
The mission is being carried out by British lawyer Victoria Meads, and was coordinated by the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR), in cooperation with the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) and Human Rights Watch, both members of the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX), which provided support for the mission.
The goals of the 30 October to 3 November 2012 mission are to investigate human rights violations, including a crackdown on activists which has led to over 60 arrests and enforced disappearances. (See: http://www.gc4hr.org/news/
During her mission, Ms. Meads has met human rights defenders and some members of families of the detained activists. On 1 November 2012, she is making an official request to the Office of the Attorney General in Abu Dhabi to visit two prominent human rights lawyers Dr. Mohammed Al-Roken and Mohammed Al-Mansori in prison. (See: http://www.gc4hr.org/news/
The mission has also requested a meeting with the Judge of the Supreme Court who extended the detention of the 63 detained human rights defenders and civil society activists. The detainees have not had access to their lawyers and are not aware of the charges against them.
Rights groups worldwide will be raising awareness on Twitter about human rights violations in the UAE, around the Formula 1 race being held from 1-4 November, during which international stars will perform. Follow #RedFlagUAE
On 26 October 2012, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on the deteriorating human rights situation in the UAE. See: http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/
A full report will be published about the finding of the human rights mission to the UAE in November.