Abu Dhabi skyline.
Abu Dhabi skyline. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Abu Dhabi: Members of the Federal National Council on Tuesday passed a draft law setting up an independent National Human Rights Authority which aims to promote and protect human rights in the country, and work to spread the culture of human rights and educate members of society about them.

Under the bill, which requires signing into a law by the President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the authority will develop a network of individuals and institutions around the world that empowers vulnerable segments of society.

“Women, children, labourers, the elderly, people of determination and the vulnerable have rights that must be safeguarded. The authority will advance our country’s efforts in protecting human rights,” Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, said as the Caniet approved the draft law in December last year.

The authority will follow the Paris Principles for the National Human Rights Institutions adopted by the United Nations General Assembly.

Khalifa Shaheen Al Marar, Minister of State, told the House the draft law is “a milestone for the UAE in the human rights record, and will advance its competitiveness and stature.”

Al Marar added through the establishment of the National Human Rights Authority, the UAE government is looking to strengthen human rights standards at the national level, and to its contribution, with government institutions, in developing the relevant government work system in a way that achieves the interest of UAE citizens, create a mechanism to follow up on its development proposals, and to avoid any obstacles in this area.

The move comes ahead of the UAE’s membership of the UN Security Council from 2022-2023, the Human Rights Council from 2022-2024, and the review of the country’s 4th periodic report on the human rights situation within the framework of the universal periodic review in 2023. “The establishment of the National Commission for Human Rights supports of the state’s position in all these international obligation,” Al Marar said.