• United Arab Emirates authorities have cracked down on peaceful demonstrations since the Arab Spring. They have arrested some activists, stripped others of their citizenship, and disbanded the elected boards of civil society organizations. In July, the Emirates deported to Thailand a prominent Bidun activist, who was born in the UAE, after threatening him with indefinite detention if he stayed. The Emirates has nearly 4 million migrant workers, and across the UAE many have their pay withheld or their passports confiscated. Some progress has been made on the protection of workers' rights Saadiyat Island, a high-profile development and construction zone. The country's female domestic workers remain acutely vulnerable to grave abuse.

  • FIFA President Sepp Blatter delivers his speech during the opening session of the 39th Ordinary UEFA Congress in Vienna on March 24, 2015.
    The next president of Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) – world football’s governing body – should ensure that future host countries of the World Cup are required to comply with fundamental human rights norms, Human Rights Watch said today. The FIFA presidential election will be held in Zurich on May 29, 2015.


United Arab Emirates

  • Jun 17, 2015
    Today is the International Day for Domestic Workers. If you live in the Gulf, you probably are focusing on the beginning of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in a few days. Yet it is especially important during this time of fasting and reflection to recognize that the human rights of domestic workers should be respected and to make sure that is happening in your own household.
  • May 29, 2015
    On May 11, the Lebanese artist Walid Raad was turned away at the airport when he tried to enter the United Arab Emirates, where the government is making a big investment in art with the Saadiyat Island project. The project, in the capital, Abu Dhabi, will include branches of the Louvre and the Guggenheim as well as a campus of New York University.
  • May 22, 2015
    EU High Representative Federica Mogherini should publicly urge Gulf countries to release immediately and unconditionally activists detained for exercising their rights.
  • May 20, 2015
  • May 12, 2015
    President Obama should urge the leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to show greater respect for human rights when he meets them on May 13 and 14, 2015, to discuss partnership and security, Human Rights Watch said today.
  • May 5, 2015
    I write in anticipation of your meeting with the leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) on May 13 and 14, 2015 to urge that you press them to show greater respect for their citizens’ rights to free expression, association, peaceful assembly, and nationality.
  • Apr 21, 2015
    New York University (NYU)’s pledge to compensate migrant construction workers for its Abu Dhabi campus who were excluded from a code of conduct designed to protect them is a positive step. The NYU president, John Sexton, announced the commitment on April 16, 2015, after a report commissioned by the Abu Dhabi government revealed the existence of a policy that excluded 30 to 35 percent of the workers from the guidelines and compliance monitoring requirements in a code of conduct covering migrant workers.
  • Mar 20, 2015
    What happens when a world-class institution dedicated to the free exchange of ideas meets up with a government that doesn’t share those values?
  • Mar 11, 2015
    United Arab Emirates (UAE) authorities have forcibly disappeared or detained incommunicado six people since mid-2014. With the latest cases, Human Rights Watch has now documented at least eight instances in which individuals were forcibly disappeared after being in custody of state authorities and identified 12 further cases of incommunicado detention.
  • Mar 8, 2015
    Like many other countries, the United Arab Emirates will mark International Women’s Day on March 8, when we may hear more words from UAE leaders celebrating the role of women. Important as it is, this year, instead of fulsome praise, what women in the UAE really need is for their government to act to end discrimination they face in law and in practice.