Human Rights Watch (HRW) has blasted the United Arab Emirates for violating human rights by suppressing dissent and discriminating against citizens at home while committing war crimes in Yemen.
In its World Report 2018 published on Thursday, the New York-based rights organization accused the UAE of “arbitrarily detaining or rounding up in its routine crackdowns on dissent,” citing the case of Ahmed Mansoor.
The rights group further touched on the UAE’s complicity in torture and disappearances across Yemen.
The UAE is a key ally of Saudi Arabia in its military campaign on Yemen, which has claimed around 13,600 lives since its onset in March 2015.
Besides playing a significant part in aerial assaults and deploying troops to Yemen, Abu Dhabi has been training the pro-Saudi militants fighting on the ground against the Yemeni army and its allied forces.
The UAE has further come under scrutiny for running secret prisons in Yemen, where hundreds of inmates suffer mistreatment and torture.
In November 2017, the Arab Organization for Human Rights (AOHR), a UK-based NGO, filed a complaint against the Emirates with the International Criminal Court (ICC) over its “indiscriminate attacks against civilians” in Yemen
The HRW said Abu Dhabi operates at least two informal detention facilities in Yemen, where prisoners face forcible disappearance and continued detention despite release orders.
Former detainees and their families have reported abuse or torture inside the UAE-run facilities, it noted.
“Whenever the US and others praise the UAE for its critical counterterrorism support in places like Yemen, they paper over a much darker reality – of disappearances, torture, and detainee abuse, and their own potential complicity in these abuses,” Whitson said.
The Saudi aggression on Yemen was launched to reinstate a former Riyadh-friendly government and to eliminate the Houthi Ansarullah movement, which has been running state affairs in the absence of an effective administration.
The offensive has, however, achieved neither of its goals despite the spending of billions of petrodollars and the enlisting of the cooperation of Saudi Arabia’s regional and Western allies.