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Sultan Saeed Al Darmaki: Human rights in the UAE
May 11, 2012
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There have been many occasions where the United Arab Emirates was accused of multiple counts of Human Rights violations by news agencies, activist groups and people that include both residents and non-residents of the UAE. When I hear about these so-called atrocities as an Emirati, I take a good look around in my country and wonder: “What the hell are they talking about?”

I am sick of rumours, false accusations and people who think they can get away with spreading wrong ideas about my country. It is people like these that start misconceptions and stereotypes of innocent people as well as making the general populous overlook the UAE’s contribution to the welfare of not only its own people but to the welfare of various countries.

You keep hearing Human Rights all the time on the news, on social media and even in normal conversations, but what does it mean? In my own definition, Human Rights is defined as preserving the dignity, freedom and welfare of any human being. However some people would try to further stretch the definition of Human Rights into “Having the right to do whatever you want with complete disregard to the law.”

In the past, there has been many unnecessary outcries about people being arrested in the UAE for either public affection, wearing revealing clothing or getting too rowdy on the streets after coming out of a party. Why are you guys complaining? They broke the law of the country they were in and they had to be dealt with accordingly regardless if they were nationals or non-nationals. It is often very confusing, people complain when other people go to jail and people still complain when other people don’t go to jail. Make up your minds!

There have been times when a number of individuals have violated Human Rights law in the country such as not paying salaries/benefits to employees or servants, not providing suitable working environments for workers as well as multiple accounts of human trafficking. In all honesty, UAE is no different from any country; we all have crimes regardless of the level or the frequency.

However you can’t go around blaming the whole country every time someone who just happens to be living in it commits a crime against humanity. Countries don’t commit human rights violations; only humans can commit human rights violations.

Aren’t you tired of people constantly over-reacting about the UAE’s Human Rights? Do you always have to start a drama about the country every time an individual messes things up? I know it sounds fun to get some dirty scoop every once in a while about a place that is portrayed as being friendly in an over-exaggerated manner in most of the media, but believe me it gets annoying after the 10th time and even more annoying after the millionth time. Learn a new tune!

Let me give you some information about the UAE’s involvement with Human Rights:

• From the time the UAE was formed, over 225 billion Dirhams was spent on Foreign Aid to help develop over 100 countries

• It has set up various humanitarian foundations such as Abu Dhabi Development Fund, Khalifa Charity Foundation and The Red Crescent Society to help provide relief to countries especially in times when they suffer a major natural disaster and conflicts

• The country is also a major contributor to The United Nations Millennium Goals which is to provide primary education to every child by 2015

• The UAE has allowed foreigners to practice their religious beliefs in the country with some minor restrictions as well as allowing churches and temples to operate without discrimination or interference.

• The UAE was ranked 29th in Gender Empowerment Measures, making it the best rating in the Arab World!

There is much more evidence out there that makes it obvious that the UAE is probably the top contributor to humanity. We are proud of that fact as equally as we are proud of leaders for promoting their people to help the rest of humanity.

So in summation: The United Arab Emirates should never be blamed for atrocities committed by few Emirati individuals; we are here to promote Human Rights because we are awesome!

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The writer, based in Abu Dhabi,
is a graduate of New York Institute
of Technology (AD). He is the author
of Under My Black Halo.

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