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Lead Story

UAE abhors all forms of racism and discrimination
Khaleej Times 03 Sept 2001. 15 Jamadi Al Thani, 1422. 

DURBAN - The UAE has reiterated that it abhors all forms of racism and this is enshrined in its constitution and it has promulgated laws against all forms of racism.
Addressing the UN conference against racism, Minister of Justice, Islamic Affairs and Auqaf Mohammed bin Nakhira Al Dhaheri said that the UAE was increasingly attaching more importance to matters relating to expatriate workers to further improve their standard of living. 

He said that the UAE constitution stated that all were equal before the law. "It has also provided for the rights of mothers and children for social and healthcare, among other rights," he said, adding that all monotheist religions, including Islam, which formed the basis of the UAE's constitution, proclaimed humanity and dignity for all human beings, irrespective of their colour, race or creed, and opposed racism in all forms. 

Mr Dhaheri said that Islam clearly stated that all human beings, people and individuals were one family, with one origin. "Islam calls for peaceful co-existence and interaction among all human beings on the basis of respect for basic human rights, equality among all human beings, tolerance and respect for diversity and dissimilarity," he said. 

He said that Islam was also against all forms of discrimination. He said that based on his country's belief in equality and human rights for all, the UAE was a signatory to a number of agreements on human rights, including the child rights conventions of the United Nations. He said: "The UAE is also a signatory to eight agreements of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and applies strictly the tenets of the human rights declaration and will soon ratify the agreement on prevention of all forms of discrimination against women." 

Mr Dhaheri said despite efforts made by the international community to eradicate all forms of discrimination and racism, racial practices persisted in many parts of the world and millions of people continued to suffer the agonies of racism and discrimination. He urged the conference to highlight all sources of discrimination and racism in this modern world. 

He pointed out that occupation of lands is one of the most dangerous forms of violation of human rights. "Lots of innocent lives are being lost through repressive practices of the occupier, especially in occupied Arab lands," he said. 

Mr Dhaheri said: "What is happening in Palestinian territories, especially in occupied Jerusalem, which is of great religious importance to the three monotheist religions, Islam, Christianity and Judaism, in Golan Heights and areas in the Israeli-occupied areas in Lebanon, is a blatant violation of all international legitimate resolutions." 

He said the Israeli government's repressive policies, including the killing of Palestinian children, organised assassinations and the use of advanced and sophisticated weapons to kill, maim and destroy Palestinian lives and property, in addition to the building of Jewish settlements, the seizure of Palestinian lands, constituted a stark violation of human rights and represented another form of racial discrimination. 

"The UAE, therefore, pleads with the conference to include in its final document the sufferings of the victims of racial discrimination, including the Palestinian people," Mr Dhaheri said. 

He added: "We demand from the international community international protection for the Palestinian people, abrogation of all discriminatory laws and legislations, to bring an end to racist practices against the Palestinians and to enable them to exercise their basic rights, including the right to live with dignity, freedom and the right to self-determination." 

He said that approval of the Durban conference document without any discrimination for the victims of racial discrimination, whoever they were, would contribute positively to the success of the conference, which would also reflect positively on the international efforts to fight racism and racial discrimination. - Wam 

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2000 women among pardoned prisoners
By Muawia E. Ibrahim 19 June 2001. 27 Rabi Al Awwal, 1422 

PRISON authorities in the country have released all UAE nationals covered by the amnesty granted by the President, His Highness Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. 

The authorities also started releasing expatriate prisoners on Sunday, prison sources said yesterday. The sources said the number of prisoners covered by the amnesty represented 65 per cent of the total number of prisoners in jails in the country. 

There are 1,200 nationals and around 5,300 expatriates among the prisoners pardoned, the total number being about 6,500 including 2,000 women - both nationals and expatriates. 

The expatriate prisoners are of different nationalities, mainly Asians, Arabs and Africans, convicted of crimes ranging from drug-trafficking, financial crimes to forgery, the sources said. 

Meanwhile, the National Consultative Council (NCC) yesterday praised Shaikh Zayed's noble gesture of releasing more prisoners, saying that the pardon would give them another chance to join the society and become useful citizens. 

"The noble deed of His Highness Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan to order release of more than 6,000 prisoners comes in line with his wise policy to ease suffering of the convicts, both citizens and residents," a statement delivered by Speaker Abdullah Al Masoud at a meeting of the council yesterday. 

The NCC thanked the President for the gesture and wished him long life and good health. 

The meeting discussed a report on development in the Eastern Region. The report lauded the the leadership for its care and continuous support for the country and its people with the aim of ensuring a comprehensive development for the country, especially the Eastern Region, which is being transformed into a tourist and economic attraction. 

The council commended the law No.7 of 2000, which called for the setting up of a general authority for economic development and tourist promotion of Al Ain City and the Eastern Region as a whole. 

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