When it comes to taking a principled stand on human rights issues, the UAE is known to lead the way. The most recent example of this has come by way of its commitment to Afghan evacuees who were brought into the country in the aftermath of a Taliban takeover in Afghanistan. Thus far, the UAE has facilitated evacuation of more than 28,000 people, most of whom have been accommodated at the Emirates Humanitarian City that now comprises 30 per cent children, 30 per cent men and 40 per cent women. There were some heartening stories that emerged too — like that of a pregnant Afghani woman who delivered here. Those who sustained grievous injuries were not only hospitalised, they are also receiving treatment free of charge. In extending its support in their time of need, the UAE has set phenomenal standards in practising what it preaches in the homeland.
An extension of this ethos came by way of a new federal law issued by the President, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, that called for formation of the National Human Rights Institution (NHRI). This announcement marks a new chapter in the history of the UAE and is seen as a formalisation of its deep commitment towards the cause of human rights. As the name suggests, the NHRI’s objective will be to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms as per the UAE laws. The institution will operate as an independent legal entity with administrative and financial autonomy to aid its humanitarian work. Apart from taking the lead on these matters, the NHRI will also conduct public awareness campaigns relating to the burning issues of the time and attempt to create a dialogue. It will also submit well-assessed proposals on the extent to which the UAE can participate in its humanitarian endeavours keeping the international laws and treaties in mind. The body will also seek advice on best practices and benchmarks to be followed while concerning itself with issues on a global platform.
Thus far, the UAE has wielded influence in various aspects of world affairs — business, technology, infrastructure. But its recent aid in evacuating Afghans and the formation of NHRI cement its place as a trusted leader in the modern world. Tolerance has been at the core of the UAE’s internal policies. It’s this principle that has helped acquire the UAE a unique place on the global map — a young country that upholds tradition and marries it with modernity. The NHRI is the ideal culmination of that ethos.
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