Maqsoud Kruse Chairperson of the National Human Rights Institution 01-1652093164902
Maqsoud Kruse, Chairperson of the National Human Rights Institution (NHRI) in the UAE, during a media briefing in Dubai on 9th may 2022 Photos Anas Thacharpadikkal/Gulf News

Dubai: The UAE on Sunday launched a website that will provide information about the human rights in the country and receive complaints about human rights violations as well as suggestions and enquiries.

The website of the National Human Rights Institution (NHRI) will commence accepting complaints about human rights violations in three months, when the country will also have a call centre with a toll free number for the same purpose, a top official said.

Maqsoud Kruse, the chairperson of the NHRI announced the launch of the website along with the new Human Rights Action Strategy of the Institution.

This followed the completion of the “100-day plan” of the foundational and organisational work of the NHRI. Among the various accomplishments during the 100-day plan was the development of the official website of the NHRI. “It will be launched in two phases,” said Kruse.

“The first phase is the unveiling of the “informative content” to provide an introductory platform for the NHRI, which includes, but is not limited to the publishing of the Federal Law No. (12) of 2021, the organisational structure, and the description of the six permanent committees [under the NHRI].”

He said the website will serve as a knowledge hub that contains major resources for all those interested in human rights within the best international practices.

“The second phase is the launch of the “interactive services,” which will be launched after three months and will be announced in due course,” said Kruse.

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He explained that the “interactive services” will cover four main services. “The “Receiving Complaints” service, where all the individuals concerned may send their own complaints. This applies to everyone residing in the country, whether a citizen, a resident or a visitor, or sending the complaint from outside the country as well.”

Other services are for sharing information about any abuses or violations of human rights that have been witnessed by them, submitting suggestions, proposals and ideas for developing human rights in the country as well as putting forward enquiries or questions that are addressed to the NHRI.

Along with the website, Kruse announced the launch of the social media accounts of the NHRI to provide interactive communications with the public as well as to promote and spread the culture of human rights by launching awareness campaigns.

In the next three months, he said the NHRI will launch a call centre with a toll free number that has been reserved for it. The call centre will also provide all the interactive services offered through the website.

Field visits

The NHRI is also in the process of developing the mechanisms for monitoring complaints through field visits as well.

“We taking into consideration, especially with the field visits, a variety of facilities for example, prisons and correction facilities will be on our list. Shelter centres, labour facilities and places, are also on our list. We are also open to all kinds of field visits where necessary,” the official said.

There is a special committe under the NHRI to handle grievances and field visits.

NHRI headquarters

The NHRI headquarters building will also be ready to receive the public within three months.

Kruse said what has been accomplished during the “100-day plan” was to establish the solid organisational infrastructure that is necessary to pave the way for a sustainable roadmap to advance the human rights of individuals and communities in the UAE.

“The next phase of our work is the most critical phase since our inauguration, in which our performance will be measured based on the results of our efforts in handling the different human rights files with responsibility and professionalism.”

Maqsoud Kruse Chairperson of the National Human Rights Institution 04-1652093172441
Maqsoud Kruse, Chairperson of the National Human Rights Institution (NHRI) in the UAE, during a media briefing in Dubai on 9th may 2022 Photos Anas Thacharpadikkal/Gulf News

UAE serious about human rights

Speaking to Gulf News, he said the UAE takes human rights seriously and the NHRI will ensure that the civil society, including different communities in the UAE will be working with the Institution as well.

“This includes academia. This includes individuals who are excited and who want to work on matters of human rights. In fact, we believe that human rights [are] of concern to all members of the society... Everyone who's a member of the society has the right to know their rights and to lead and understand what human rights is all about. And that's exactly our mandate at the NHRI.”

He said the very fact that the National Human Rights institution has been established shows “another milestone on how we are progressing and developing when it comes to human rights within the UAE, and the launching of our website and the social media platforms is only another step in the right direction, where we can engage, communicate and interact with all members of the community.”

The official said the agency is working on formulating the policies and procedures for tackling grievances related to human rights violations whether they are aired from within the country or from outside.

He said the NHRI envisions to have the ability to provide accessibility to everyone who needs to share their grievances

“But then we're also looking into verification and looking into those who are serious about their complaints and grievances...[If they] are able to share with us the facts, the official documents that will help us to look into them, conduct our own independent review, and be able to manage all of these questions and inquiries. You could imagine there will be a lot of questions, complaints, grievances, but our process...needs to look into these considerations.”

Other members

As part of putting in place the necessary mechanisms for the institutional readiness of the NHRI, five non-voting government representatives were nominated to participate in the meetings of NHRI board members, in line with the Presidential Decree No. (22) of 2021. This is also in accordance with the UN Paris Principles that regulate the status and functioning of national institutions for the protection and promotion of human rights.

The representatives include one each from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation and the Ministry of Community Development.

“I am pleased to announce that the NHRI provides the opportunity for everyone to join its distinguished team, ensuring equal representation for all segments of society without any discrimination. We invite all those with a specialty in “human rights” or relevant specialties to visit the “Join Us” webpage on our website in order to register,” said Kruse.