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Position of NGOs

The government generally does not permit organizations to focus on political issues but has tolerated a few groups that engage in some kinds of human-rights monitoring and advocacy. There are two recognized local human-rights organizations, the quasi-independent Emirates Human Rights Associations (EHRA), which focuses on labour rights, stateless persons‘ rights, and the treatment of prisoners; and the government-subsidized Jurists’ Association Human Rights Committee, which concentrates on human-rights education and conducts related seminars and symposia, subject to government approval. However, the board of directors of the Jurists’ Association was dissolved in April 2011.

Although EHRA is headed by a government prosecutor, it generally operates without government interference, with the exception of requirements that apply to all associations in the country. The UAE government directs and subsidizes participation by NGO members in events outside the country, such as international human-rights conferences. All participants in such events, whether or not they are speakers, must obtain government permission to attend.

The government does not allow international human-rights NGOs to be based in the country but does allow limited visits by their representatives. There are no transparent standards governing these visits, but the government generally showed some cooperation with certain international organizations, including the UN Children’s Fund and the UNHCR. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has an office in the UAE.