Abu Dhabi: A US State Department report on human rights in the UAE released late last month needs to be revised, says the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to better reflect strides made by the nation.

In a statement issued on Monday, the ministry said the UAE “has written to the State Department suggesting that it revises its report” to include latest public information and media reports showing progress on human rights.

“Respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms is an essential part of our principles. While some countries have had centuries to build societies based on human rights, we are proud of the progress we have made in the 42 years since our country was founded. We have created a tolerant, multicultural society in which people of many different nationalities worship freely in churches, temples and mosques. All citizens and residents have access to education and healthcare,” the statement noted.

The ministry took issue with the reference within the US report that there is “no update” on UAE national Hassan Al Diqqi “of the Al Ummah Party” who is being described in the report as “a human rights activist” despite evidence of his extremist credentials.

Al Diqqi belonged to the Ummah Organisation, which had ties to the “current president of the Al Karama organisation, Abd Al Rahman Bin ‘Umayr Al Nuaymi’, [who] was designated in December 2013 by the US Department of the Treasury as an Al Qaida terror financier. “Moreover, Hassan Al Diqqi’s extremist credentials are long established, as noted by [US media], with his support for jihad publicly recorded as far back as 2002, and most recently in 2013 as evidenced readily by social media.”

The reference to Al Diqqi “would seem to suggest that a recalibration of the report is necessary and that it therefore provides an unbalanced picture of the human rights situation in the UAE,” the ministry said. The statement noted the progress made in the UAE with regard to all aspects of human rights, especially in the empowerment of women, the fight against human trafficking and labour protection.

“The UAE’s status as an attractive place of work for people from around the world has led it to become a major recipient of foreign labour, which benefits both the foreign workers and the UAE,” the statement said. “We take pride in our achievements but we are never satisfied with the status quo. The UAE will continue to strive to improve respect for human rights regardless of the criticism because human rights are part of the values that motivate us.”

- With inputs from WAM