The UAE has expressed its unwavering commitment to promoting and protecting human rights within the domestic legal framework, stressing it’s commitment to continue serving as a pioneering model for change in the region, as well as an active member of the international community.

A statement, at the General Debate of the Third Committee of the United Nations General Assembly, delivered by First Secretary of the Permanent Mission of the UAE to the UN, Ghasaq Shaheen, the statement emphasised the UAE’s proactive approach to human rights, the results of which have been reflected in the significant progress in improving and expanding labour regulations and human trafficking laws, women’s rights, protection of children, rights of persons with disabilities, and promotion of equality.

The UAE pledged to further develop its human rights framework in accordance with international standards, as well as continue to strengthen the various mechanisms and institutions promoting the cause. As part of its commitment to the UN Human Rights Council’s mandate, the UAE reviewed a number of periodic reports for 2015-2017 on the rights of the child, the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women, the rights of persons with disabilities, and most recently the elimination of racial discrimination, in August 2017.

In addition, the statement pointed out that the UAE is due to submit its first report on anti-torture. At the end of October 2017, the UAE will also deliver its third Universal Periodic Review, UPR, report on human rights to the Secretariat of the Council, and will review it in a meeting on 22nd January, 2018.

As part of ongoing efforts to be among the most responsive to the needs of persons with disabilities, and to protect and promote their rights and dignity, the UAE’s leadership has stressed that persons with disabilities be referred to as “people of determination.” This is in recognition of the strong will and determination which characterises the community, including their contributions to society. To support the ongoing efforts, the UAE launched the National Strategy for Empowering People with Determination, aimed to create a supportive and inclusive society for persons with disabilities and their families through policies and services to accommodate their specific needs.

Regarding the labour agenda, the statement noted that the UAE acknowledges the contributions of foreign workers in the development of the national economy, and has undertaken a series of measures aimed at protecting the rights of workers in labour disputes and access to legal remedies. These measures include introducing more flexibility in the labour market, establishing a more balanced contractual relationship between employees and employers, and improving monitoring systems. The UAE’s Federal Law No. 10 of 2017 aims to balance and regulate the contractual working relationship, and more importantly reflects the UAE’s commitment to uphold the rule of law and harmonize national legislation with international standards.

The statement concluded with the UAE reaffirming its commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights, and meeting related challenges in light of rapid global changes.