Urgent Call to Action for Climate Emergency (ACE): Due to the UAE's track record of human rights violations, you should withdraw from COP28
Dear Team at Action for the Climate Emergency (ACE),
As we approach the 28th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28), we are writing to draw your attention to the urgent need for a careful consideration of the gravity of the upcoming event and the responsibility that lies in the hands of all participating parties. As such, we urge Action for Climate Emergency (ACE) to join us in calling for a boycott of COP28, which is scheduled to be held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in light of the troubling facts surrounding the current state of affairs in the country and the highly controversial appointment of a state-run oil company chief to lead the UN climate talks.
We would like to bring to your attention some important matters that have raised serious concerns:
- We would like to bring your attention to Dr. Sultan Al Jaber's election as the president-elect of COP28. Dr. Al Jaber's appointment as CEO of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) has sparked debate, with some claiming that having an oilman lead a conference aimed at combating climate change contradicts the principles of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
- This selection has also called into question the validity of the talks as well as the UAE's genuine objectives. Climate campaigners, including Greta Thunberg, have raised concern, calling the UAE's appointment "completely ridiculous." Furthermore, Tasneem Essop, Executive Director of Climate Action Network, remarked that the nomination is "tantamount to a full-scale capture of the UN climate talks by a petrostate national oil company & its associated fossil fuel lobbyists."
- In addition to the controversial appointment of the president-elect, the UAE's history of human rights breaches must be considered. The country has a notorious track record of imprisoning human rights defenders and activists, including the UAE94 case, in which 94 lawyers, university lecturers, and students were sentenced to ten years in prison for plotting to overthrow the government. The United Nations, Human Rights Watch, and other groups have expressed concern about UAE authorities' mistreatment and torturing of these activists in custody.
- The UAE was responsible for dozens of new and continued arbitrary detentions. The authorities refused to release at least 41 prisoners who completed their terms during the past year, bringing the total number, including those from previous years, to 48. All 41 were part of the 2012-2013 "UAE-94" mass trial. The government described such detentions as ongoing "counselling" for those who had "adopted extremist thought," a measure authorized under Article 40 of the 2014 counter-terrorism law. The statute compels the Office of Public Prosecutions to acquire a court order for such detentions, but it does not offer the detainee the ability to contest their ongoing detention.
- It is worth noting that the UAE's COP28 presidency has been actively lobbied in the European Parliament and the United Nations by UAE lobbyists. Climate campaigners, notably Greta Thunberg, have expressed alarm about the impact of fossil fuel lobbyists on the negotiations. Following the UAE's previous lobbying efforts, ADNOC raised $2.5 billion in an IPO before of COP28, which has been interpreted as a move to assert the UAE's dominance in the fossil fuel market.In light of these concerns, we request for Action Climate Emergency (ACE ) to consider the issues raised above and reflect on the true intentions of the UAE’s COP28 presidency. It is essential that we work towards a sustainable future and combat the very real threat of climate change, but we must do so in a way that is fair, just, and equitable.
As a result, I respectfully propose that Action for Climate Emergency (ACE) skipping COP28 in order to send a strong statement that we will not tolerate a conference that appears to be dominated by the interests of a petrostate national oil firm and its allied fossil fuel lobbyists.
Thank you for your attention to this important matter.
Skyline International Foundation for Human Rights