Mehmood UL Hassan Khan
Most recently, President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan has emphasized to maintaining the constitution and rights and freedoms. Inaugurating the second ordinary session of the 15th Legislative Chapter of the Federal National Council, the UAE President said in a speech delivered on his behalf by the Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, that “We are going forward firmly to bring our political experience to its (desired) ends so as to achieve development and expand participation. The UAE President underlined that the UAE constitution protects rights and freedoms. “This makes the UAE a paradise for citizens and expatriates. All live in peace in a tolerant community that is free from segregation and injustice.”
Anwar Gargash UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs says UAE government and people stand tall against the shrill voices of violent extremists and ensure openness and tolerance prevails. People are free to follow their religion and rituals. They are free to worship and work. Its interfaith harmony policy has already won the hearts of millions of Coptic Christians and other minorities living in the country without any fear. Now it has more than 200 nationalities in the country. UAE maintain social justice in its true spirits. Everyone is equal before the law. Courts are independent to give decisions. There are government departments to resolve issue relating to labour rights and migrants protection. It has been one of key country for the migrants to work in the country. Grey areas relating to security, rules and regulations are dealt according to the law of the land in order to maintain interfaith harmony, protection of the minorities and their religious places, achieving further empowerment of women, tolerance and culture diversity in the country. These efforts or minor incidents have nothing to do with human right abuses. He strongly rejected the EU parliament resolution towards human rights issues. He labeled it baseless and far from ground realities.
United Arab Emirates (UAE) human right record is reflected in its diversified socio-economic policies which has already achieved sustainable success in the country. UAE macro-economy policies, social development programs, laws and the last but not the least, its strategic vision all stand for human right protection and to achieve Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). It is first among all Arab states in the UN Human Development Index 2012.
According to United Nation Development Program (UNDP), MDGs are the best criteria to judge the social development in any country which deals with the promotion of qualitative human life by achieving certain goals relating to human dignity and comfort. According to many regional and international organizations, UAE MDGs achievements are role model for the all. It successfully eradicated extreme poverty and hunger. It has already achieved universal primary education goal of MDGs (according to the last census, the ratio of literate women to men aged 15-24 years stood at 110. Moreover, the ratio of females to males in secondary education stood at 106.7 and in tertiary education at 181). According to the QS World University Rankings (2012) the UAE University (UAEU) has placed in the top 50 world universities that were founded within the past 50 years, acknowledging the rapid pace of progress within both the United Arab Emirates and its national institution of higher education.
It excelled in promoting and achieving gender equality and empowers women in the country. Child morality rates have been reduced (according to statistical year book, life expectancy is 77 for males and 79 for females, with an under-five mortality rate of 7 per 1,000 (decrease from 17 in 1990). Access to clean water in urban and rural areas is assured for 100 percent of the population, and close to 100 percent use modern sanitation facilities). UAE-based learning consultant Carol Talbot report (October, 2012) says more than 30 percent of firms in the UAE’s SME sector are owned by women.
Maternal Health has already been improved drastically throughout the country. Its mechanism to combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other diseases are far better to other country (there are more than 26 government hospitals in the country. It has the capacity of almost 4,000 beds, over 2,000 specialized and over 1,000 public and private clinics throughout the country).
There is a paradigm shift in its major policies towards achieving environment friendly goals. UAE global partnership for development is sky-high. Its global foreign aid ratios, humanitarian assistance drive, peace mission and active participation in all the international protocols strongly suggest its commitments towards human right institutionalization in the country (according to UAE foreign Ministry UAE contributed more than Dh255 billion (US$70 bn) in loans, grants and assistance for development projects in nearly 100 countries around the world. While much of the assistance is provided on a government-to-government basis, the country is also a major contributor to international agencies, having made Dh100 billion (US$27 bn) available through the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank).
The most recently proposed federal budget also allocated huge funds for the social development.
51 percent, 22 percent and 12 percent are allocated for social development, education, and water and electricity respectively. In total moreover, 85 percent of budget allocation is for welfare, social and infrastructural development. It shows government’s strong commitment to provide a comfortable and life for the Emiratis and expatriates living in the UAE and to upgrade working conditions.
The UAE national policies of social development is now paying its dividends in terms of highest levels of literacy rate, best health care system, highest enrollment in higher education, women empowerment (70 per cent of all university graduates four women members of the Cabinet and ambassadors), housing and water supplies in the region. According to the chairperson of the Emirates Business Women Council and of the Abu Dhabi Businesswomen Council (July, 2012), the number of Emirati businesswomen has crossed 13,000 who together control over 20,000 business establishments in the country.
Holding of 2nd Federal Council Elections further increased people’s participation in the national decision making. More than one third of adults have the right to vote which is comparatively far better in the region. UAE democratic model is progressive in its nature that supports its national requirements and real objectives. The UAE possesses the most successful federations of the world through which the state has softened all differences among all emirates and equal social development played important role in it.
According to TNS MENA, the world’s largest custom market research organization recently nation-wide conducted survey (August, 2012), citizens in the UAE believe that they enjoy a better quality of life than most of their European counterparts. UAE citizens high degree of satisfaction places it with elite golden league with a 90 plus score. Moreover, the UAE’s 91 per cent satisfaction rating also exceeds the all Europe Index at 75 per cent as well as those of other leading European nations such as Germany at 88 per cent, Belgium and the United Kingdom both scoring 87 per cent, France at 76 percent, Spain at 73 percent and Italy at 64 per cent among others.
The Pakistan Ambassador to the UAE has said there are no violations of human rights in the UAE. Ambassador Jamil Ahmed Khan said Pakistani workers in the UAE were much happier and more satisfied than their counterparts working in other countries, and said the UAE showed transparency and openness in its dealings with its residents from 193 different countries. He said
“If you do not respect the law, you are heading for self-destruction”.
Italian Ambassador to UAE Giorgio Starace, said Italy looks at UAE as a model for tolerance in the Arab world, and appreciates the progress achieved so far by the UAE in respect of human rights and religious dialogue. He appreciated the progress so far achieved by the Government of the UAE in the field of the respect of human rights and dialogue with all religions.
According to IMD’s World Competitiveness Centre’s 2012 data for ‘Image Abroad’, UAE enjoys better ‘brand’ image abroad than US, Europe. The UAE has been rated ninth globally and second in the Arab world in terms of doing business. The UAE enjoys better rating than advanced countries like Spain, South Korea, Norway, Netherland, Australia, UK, US, Japan, France and Italy among others. It earned 8.27 points as compared to 7.96 by South Korea, 7.57 by Norway, 7.51 by Australia, 7.16 by UK, 6.72 by US, 6.19 by Japan and 4.21 by France in the survey.
A survey by the British-based Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (November, 2012) said demand for commercial property in the Emirates had risen to its highest level since 2008, ahead of rises in Thailand, Russia and the United States. It also shows UAE friendliness, openness and liberalized economic and business policies.
Every country has its own distinctive laws to maintain stability and sustainability which should not be considered as any act of human rights violation. UAE has the highest cultural diversity which reflects in its government’s policies and its rigorous implementation. UAE stands for interfaith harmony, peace and development. People have the right of association but within the framework of laws. People are free to worship and work. UAE guarantees human rights protection for all in the country and the European Union Parliament resolution towards human rights issues is biased and prejudiced in all respect.