UAE: Sheikh Khalifa announces National Human Rights Institution

Web report/Abu Dhabi
Filed on August 30, 2021
Photo: Wam

The institution aims to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms

The UAE President, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, has issued a federal law to establish a National Human Rights Institution (NHRI).

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The institution aims to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms based on the provisions of the UAE Constitution, laws and legislation in force in the country, as well as relevant international conventions.

According to state news agency Wam, the NHRI will be established and headquartered in Abu Dhabi and may open additional branches and establish offices in other emirates.

Scope of the NHRI

It will participate in the development of a national action plan to promote and protect human rights in the country and propose a mechanism for its implementation.

It will also raise public awareness through seminars, conferences and panel discussions, and submit proposals, recommendations and advice to the relevant authorities on ways to promote, protect and pursue human rights.

The institution will also submit proposals on the extent to which national legislation and laws are compatible with international treaties and conventions on human rights to which the UAE is a party, and track human rights abuses and violations, verify their authenticity, and report them to the relevant authorities.

Participating in international and regional fora concerned with human rights is also a mandate for the institution.

Membership of the NHRI

The NHRI will have a board of trustees of at least 11 members, including the Chairperson, with at least half of the members working on a full-time basis.

The mechanism for selecting members of the NHRI will be decided by the UAE President. They will encompass advisory bodies, academics, civil society institutions and those with technical and professional expertise, while taking into account the appropriate representation of women.

The term of membership of the NHRI will be four years, renewable once, beginning from the date of the issuance of the resolution.

The Board will meet periodically at least once every three months. The Chairperson, at the request of the majority of the members, may invite the Board to an extraordinary meeting at any time.

Decisions shall be taken by a majority vote of the members present. In the case of a tie, the Chairman shall have the casting vote.

The establishment of this key mechanism stems from the UAE’s eagerness to develop its institutional structure of human rights in a way that will enhance the country’s position and highlight its role in advancing it.

In developing this law, the UAE sought advice from international organisations, most notably, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, which provided legal and technical assistance to draft the NHRI law.

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