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Dear Team at Save the Children International,

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 Save the Children International 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:

  1. We would like to draw your attention to the choice of Dr. Sultan Al Jaber as COP28's president-elect. The choice of Dr. Al Jaber to lead the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) has caused controversy. The decision to select Sultan al-Jaber sends the wrong message to those who will be most impacted by climate change. It disappoints people who anticipated significant advancements in reducing carbon emissions and achieving climate justice at COP28.
  2. This decision has also questioned the legitimacy of the negotiations as well as the UAE's true goals. Concern has been expressed by pro-climate activists, including Greta Thunberg, who referred to the UAE's selection as "completely ridiculous." The nomination, according to Tasneem Essop, executive director of Climate Action Network, is "tantamount to a full-scale capture of the UN climate talks by a petrostate national oil company & its associated fossil fuel lobbyists."
  3. Aside from the contentious appointment of the president-elect, the UAE's history of human rights violations must be reviewed. The country has a long history of imprisoning human rights defenders and campaigners, most notably in the UAE94 case, in which 94 lawyers, university lecturers, and students were convicted to ten years in prison for attempting to overthrow the government. The United Nations, Human Rights Watch, and other organizations have voiced concern about the torture and torturing of these activists in detention by UAE authorities.
  4. The UAE was behind dozens of new and ongoing arbitrary detentions. The authorities refused to release at least 41 prisoners who served their sentences in the previous year, increasing the total amount to 48 (including those from previous years). All 41 were involved in the "UAE-94" mass trial in 2012-2013. Such detentions were presented by the government as ongoing "counselling" for persons who had "adopted extremist thought," a step authorized under Article 40 of the 2014 counter-terrorism law. The Act requires the Office of Public Prosecutions to get a court order for such detentions, but it does not allow the detainee to challenge their continued deteEuropeaI
  5. It is worth mentioning that the UAE's COP28 chairmanship has been vigorously lobbied in the European Parliament and the United Nations by UAE lobbyists. Climate activists, most notably Greta Thunberg, have expressed concern about the influence of fossil fuel lobbyists on the negotiations. Following the UAE's earlier lobbying efforts, ADNOC raised $2.5 billion in an IPO prior to COP28, which has been regarded as a strategy to assert the UAE's dominance in the fossil fuel market.In light of these concerns, we propose that Save the Children International analyze the problems stated above and reflect on the genuine goals of the UAE's COP28 leadership. It is critical that we work toward a sustainable future and battle the very real threat of climate change.

As a result, I respectfully propose that Save the Children International, 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