The UAE performed best in the education category with a 94 per cent finish for ensuring top education for all children. Image Credit: Abdul Rahman/Gulf news archives

Dubai: The United Arab Emirates has earned top marks from a Norway-based human rights group for its work to improve its society across a wide range of quality-of-life categories, according to a new report that ranks the UAE first among Arab countries and 14th globally for respecting human rights.

The Global Network for Rights and Development (GNRD) released yesterday its International Human Rights Indicator (IHRRI), which positioned the UAE 58 full ranks ahead of the closest Arab country on the list, Tunisia.

The UAE was ranked six spots ahead of the United States, which placed 20th, while Syria was ranked 210th.  

To acquire its 14th position, the UAE fared well across 21 individual categories, performing best in the education category with a 94 per cent finish for ensuring top education for all children.

The UAE earned a 93 per cent rating for providing right to health care followed by an 85 per cent rating for right to life. For its protection for residents the right not to be deprived of property arbitrarily, the UAE was scored at 80 per cent while the country was scored at 79 per cent for protecting the rights of foreigners.

The UAE was marked at 76 per cent for the right of protection for honour and equally at 76 per cent for the right to marry.

A rating of 75 per cent was given to the UAE for working to protect the right to an adequate standard of living and 75 per cent was also given for the country’s protection of the rights of the accused.

The UAE’s right to liberty and security was ranked at 71 per cent while the right of assembly in the UAE earned 70 points. The UAE also earned a 70 per cent rating for providing rights to acceptable conditions at work.

Freedom of expression was scored at 69 per cent by the human rights indicator.
Right to liberty of movement in the UAE was also scored at 69 per cent.

Right to be free of discrimination was ranked at 66 per cent in the country.

The GNRD said in a statement on Friday that it released “the most trustful and complete international human rights rank indicator (IHRRI)” compiled by more than 2,000 individuals around the globe.

“Human rights need careful attention and neutral attitude, the brighter and wider the violations of human rights are presented the better measures are taken on the way to stop them,” the rights network said in a statement on its website. “Thus, we introduced today a real, free of bias, unique in its implementation International Human Rights Rank Indicator.”

The GNRD did not reply to a Gulf News request for comment by press time yesterday.

The indicator “depends on a complex calculation of the respect for 21 interconnected human rights, including the evaluation of respect for human rights abroad, and the rights’ values,” the organisation said, adding it is “an independent, neutral, free of bias work group of human rights defenders.”

The GNRD said that in order to conduct the research for the rankings, it weighed its 21 categories based on real-life human rights cases that were reported.

“A significant element of the calculation is the taken into account interconnection between 21 human rights,” the group said. “All work has been done with the help of a wide network of our members working all over the world, observing real situation in the countries, registering violations and [conducting] research. We also work with international organizations, governments and other NGOs to make the outcomes complete and trustful.”

Government officials with the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on its website that human rights are a critical component of the UAE Constitution.

“The foreign policy of the UAE prides itself with justice, protection and respect of human rights and their implementation by means of regulations that emphasise equality and justice among the people of the country,” said the ministry. “The UAE Constitution outlines the freedoms and rights of all citizens, prohibits torture, arbitrary arrest and detention, respects civil liberties, including freedom of speech and press, peaceful assembly and association, and the practice of religious beliefs.”

The ministry said the “government is firmly committed to promoting in a constructive way the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and is determined to improve its own domestic record and to make a positive difference at the global level.

“Mindful of the significance of its human rights record, the UAE is investing its energies in the bringing up to date of its own laws and practices. The government is also aware of the need to place a high priority on respect for human rights in accordance with international human charters and customs. This is based upon the country’s cultural heritage and religious values, which enshrine justice, equality and tolerance.”