UAE determined to protect human rights: Gargash

Dr. Anwar bin Mohammed Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs. (EAY)

The UAE is determined to continue its efforts to strengthen protection of human rights at home, and work constructively within the Human Rights Council (HRC) to address human rights issues around the world, Dr. Anwar bin Mohammed Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs said.  

Delivering the UAE statement at the 31th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva on Tuesday, Dr. Gargash said fostering values of tolerance, social cohesion and human rights are key pillars to achieving stability in the region, alongside countering extremism and promoting prosperity.

Below is the full text of the statement…

“Mr. President, Your Excellency the High Commissioner, distinguished delegates:

“On behalf of the United Arab Emirates, I am pleased to extend to you, Mr. President, our congratulations on your election.  I thank your predecessor, Ambassador Rucker, for his work.

We are honoured that the United Arab Emirates has been elected to a second term on the Human Rights Council.  We are determined to continue our efforts to strengthen the protection of human rights at home, and to work constructively within the Council to address human rights issues around the world.  Fostering values of tolerance, social cohesion and human rights are key pillars to achieving stability in our region, alongside countering extremism and promoting prosperity.

“The implementation of the voluntary pledges we made when we announced our candidacy is already well under way.  We look forward to working closely with the High Commissioner’s Office over the next three years towards achieving these shared goals.  

“Our work to strengthen the national protection of human rights is continuing in many areas, and today I would like to highlight specific advances that have been made on gender, and for children, including girls, as well on safeguarding labour protections.

“The UAE continues to strive to achieve the country’s goal of gender equality. Women are well represented in various UAE political and constitutional institutions, and women continue to prove their merit in these roles. Through the opportunities provided, women are participating as equal partners in building a truly remarkable, modern Arab and Muslim society. More importantly, the critical role of women in these institutions is widely accepted by all as a key factor in our success as a nation. This ensures that the increase in women’s participation in society is not merely a cosmetic development, but something more significant and enduring.

“Underpinning this progress is a firm resolve to implement our international commitments. To that end, in November, we presented our combined Second and Third Periodic Reports on the steps we have taken to implement the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women. I am pleased to report that domestic progress on rates of women’s educational attainment levels, health and political participation continue to represent new benchmarks both in our region and globally.

“Additionally, we have set some long-term, strategic goals to achieve empowerment and equality in the work place. These include the launch, by Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, chairwoman of the General Women’s Union, which is our national organisation for women, of a long-term National Strategy for Empowerment of Emirati Women in the UAE for the period 2015-2021.

“Building on our own national experience, we strongly believe that gender equality is at the core of peaceful and thriving societies. That is why advancing women’s empowerment is reflected in our international role as well as in partnership with the United Nations.

“At the UN, the UAE champions gender equality and the empowerment of women in close partnership with UN Women at various levels. The UAE is currently serving its second term on the Executive Board of UN Women from 2016-2018, and we have been a major donor since 2012. We are especially pleased to host a UN Women Liaison Office in Abu Dhabi, which will be opened this year. The Office will serve to institutionalize and further strengthen partnerships with the UN on women’s participation and leadership.

“Further, our Mission in New York is spearheading partnerships on policy innovations in support of the "Women, Peace and Security" agenda – a critical platform for integrating women into every aspect of political participation, peace-making and peacebuilding – which we believe increases the durability and resilience of post-conflict societies.

“Evidence shows that early engagement and prevention is always more effective, and that is why the UAE strongly supports international efforts to achieve equality in the right to education for girls as a critical precursor to women’s empowerment. Additionally, I am pleased to announce that the UAE will lead on a resolution at the June session of this Council to support efforts to realize the equal right to education by every girl.

“While we support a special focus on girl’s education, the UAE’s commitments to all children are guided by the Convention on the Rights of the Child. In September, we presented our Second Periodic Report on the question and we have been engaged in a constructive dialogue with the Committee on improving protection for children. Additionally, we have adopted a National Strategy for Motherhood and Childhood, which covers four integrated aspects of child rights: survival, development, protection and participation. Beyond our own borders, and through organizations such as Dubai Cares, the UAE is also helping to make the right to education a reality around the world.  Working in partnership with organizations such as Unicef, Dubai Cares has helped millions of children in more than 30 countries to go to school.  

“I would now like to report to the Council on a further significant component of the UAE’s human rights approach; the ongoing effort to improve labour conditions. The UAE is mindful of the contribution and composition of foreign workers in the country’s economic development. As a result, further measures have been introduced to improve employment contracts, register work permits and extend benefits to all workers. The reforms place the UAE at the forefront of regional efforts to protect workers and build on significant structural improvements, and we believe are a signal of the UAE’s progressive approach towards improving workers’ rights, on the basis of universal principles.”

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