UAE President issues federal law to establish independent National Human Rights Institution
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UAE President issues federal law to establish independent National Human Rights Institution

UAE President issues federal law to establish independent National Human Rights Institution

The Abu Dhabi entity will include representation from advisory bodies, academics and civil society institutions

Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan human rights

UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan has issued federal law No. 12 of 2021 establishing an independent National Human Rights Institution (NHRI).

The NHRI will be headquartered in Abu Dhabi and may open additional branches in other emirates across the country.

The institution shall be an independent legal entity, with financial and administrative autonomy in its activities and functions, reported state-run news agency WAM.

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

Article 5 states that to achieve its objectives, the NHRI shall participate, along with the relevant authorities, in the development of a national action plan to promote and protect human rights in the country. It will propose a mechanism for its implementation, and raise public awareness through seminars, conferences and panel discussions on human rights. It will also submit proposals, recommendations and advice to the relevant authorities on ways to promote, protect and pursue human rights.

The NHRI will also submit proposals to the relevant authorities and institutions 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.

The NHRI will engage in and participate in international and regional forums discussing the issue of human rights.

The NHRI shall have a board of trustees of at least 11 members, according to article 6, including the chairperson, with at least half of the members working on a full-time basis.

The members shall be decided by the UAE president and will encompass advisory bodies, academics, civil society institutions and those with technical and professional expertise, while ensuring the representation of women too.

The number of representatives of government agencies shall be specified by the president’s decision, who will attend its meetings without the right to vote.

Each member will enjoy a tenure of four years, renewable once, beginning from the date of the issuance of the resolution.

The board shall meet periodically at least once every three months. The chairperson, at the request of the majority of the members, may call the board for 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 will have the casting vote.

The UAE reportedly sought advice from international organisations, including the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights for legal and technical assistance to draft the new NHRI law.

Plans to set up the human rights body was first unveiled last December by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

Read: UAE to form an independent National Human Rights Authority

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