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Civil Society Groups Address Human Rights Concerns in Letter to COP28 Host UAE

The summit is scheduled from November 30 to December 12

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UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: With a list of requests regarding the Gulf state’s human rights record, more than 200 civil society organisations have written to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which is hosting this year’s COP28 UN climate meeting, and all other participating states.

The UAE, a major oil producer and ally of the United States, does not permit political parties and tolerates minimal criticism. There are stringent controls over local and state media, and there are limitations on free speech.

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The UAE has denied claims of discrimination in its constitution and stated that all COP28 attendees will be allowed to peacefully gather and have their voices heard. The UAE is one of the most tolerant and diverse countries, and the right to be free from discrimination is guaranteed under the UAE’s constitution, as per the statement.

Amnesty International has submitted a letter to COP28 summit organizers outlining seven requests. These include the abolition of LGBTQ-criminalizing legislation, the release of “prisoners of conscience,” compensation for migrant workers who contributed to COP facility construction, and an appeal not to spy on summit participants.

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The United Nations hosts the annual climate summit in Dubai, led by OPEC member Sultan Ahmed al-Jaber. The summit is scheduled from November 30 to December 12. Despite the UAE’s commitment to peaceful protests, several NGOs are hesitant to attend due to concerns about restrictions on their liberties or arrest.  

A rights group allege that the UAE’s spies are allowing fossil fuel lobbyists and oil executives to roam the halls, while climate and human rights activists worry about being hacked and facing potential arrests. 

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The UAE has refuted allegations of arbitrary detentions. Recent Middle Eastern global summits, such as the United Nations climate summit in Egypt and the men’s football World Cup in Qatar, have put host nations’ rights records under scrutiny, using activists to pressure them to improve.

Also Read: UAE to Begin Hosting the Cop28 UN Climate Summit

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