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Stockholm- As the United Arab Emirates takes the spotlight at the 28th session of the annual Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28) from November 30 to December 12, 2023, hosted at Expo City Dubai, Skyline Human Rights Foundation issues a fervent call to all participants. Skyline urges them to exert pressure on the UAE to ensure the full, free, and equal participation of civil society while advocating for meaningful human rights reforms extending beyond the scope of COP28.

In a statement released today, Skyline asserts that the prolonged detention of 55 dissidents, including lawyers and activists like Ahmed Mansoor and Dr. Nasser bin Ghaith, constitutes a severe violation of fundamental rights outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The Foundation underscores the detainees' rights to freedom of expression, association, and a fair trial, emphasizing the urgent need for their release.

Skyline emphasizes the imperative for the UAE authorities to immediately release individuals unjustly detained in connection with COP28. Despite having completed their sentences years ago, 55 dissidents and lawyers convicted in the "UAE-94" mass trial remain in custody. The persistent detention of human rights activists, coupled with the targeting of individuals such as Amina Al-Abdouli and Maryam Al-Balushi for speaking out against prison abuses, starkly contradicts established legal and human rights principles. This warrants immediate attention and intervention to safeguard the rights and freedoms of those unlawfully detained.

During the detention of these human rights defenders, some of their family members were subjected to relentless reprisals. In some cases, the UAE authorities arbitrarily revoked the citizenship of the detainees and their families, depriving them of their rights as Emirati citizens and rendering them stateless. In other cases, the authorities imposed travel bans on their family members, prevented them from studying or working, and froze their bank accounts. In November 2021, Mohammed Al Nuaimi, the son of “Emirates 94” defendant Ahmed Al Nuaimi, who had been living in self-imposed exile since 2012, died in the UAE. Mohammed was banned from entering the country in retaliation for his father’s activism, preventing him from seeing his parents and five of his brothers again.

Furthermore, the Foundation highlights the necessity for the UAE to address other human rights violations, including the surveillance of government critics through sophisticated technologies, the imprisonment of human rights defenders and dissidents using repressive laws, and the de facto denial of the right to peaceful assembly through severe legal restrictions. The abusive sponsorship system affecting foreign workers, denying them the right to form trade unions, also demands rectification.

Skyline looks forward to the COP28 platform to initiate diplomatic efforts and negotiations, urging the release of the unlawfully detained individuals and emphasizing the importance of upholding their fundamental rights.

In conclusion, Skyline calls upon all COP28 participants to collectively pressure the UAE for the full, free, and equal participation of civil society. The Foundation advocates for meaningful human rights reforms extending beyond COP28, including the release of Emirati dissidents and an end to arbitrary arrests and persecution.