Join the boycott of Expo 2020 Dubai

Global Rights Watch (GRW) is proud to announce that it is supporting the boycott of Expo 2020 Dubai over the appalling human rights record of the United Arab Emirates. We urge everyone who believes in the sanctity of human rights and peace to back our call – and encourage sponsors of the event to withdraw.

The UAE is a notorious violator of human rights, but it wants to use the global attention of Expo 2020 to present itself as a modern, progressive state. It is nothing of the sort – and that needs to be exposed.

Thousands around the world are already campaigning to encourage sponsors to withdraw from the event in solidarity with political prisoners, oppressed women, mistreated migrants and civilians devastated by wars supported by UAE to further its own interests.

The call to boycott the event, made by GRW and many others around the world, can help spread the message that tyranny will not be tolerated. 

In the UAE, opposition to the ruling regime is banned. Dozens of peaceful political activists are currently behind bars. They include dozens still imprisoned after the 2013 UAE-94 case, which saw the mass trial of 94 defendants for seeking a change of government, 69 of whom were convicted. 

Among them are attorneys Mohamed al-Roken and Mohammed al-Mansoori, who were once the leaders of the UAE Jurists Association, whose “crime” it was to call for free elections. Also detained are Nasser bin Ghaith, a lecturer at Sorbonne University’s Abu Dhabi campus, who has been imprisoned since 2015, and Ahmed Mansoor, a human rights activist.

The legal system has no sense of justice and is instead a corrupt tool of the regime. Defendants are often held without charge, denied legal counsel and family contact, and will be forced to sign confessions after experiencing the brutality of their captors. 

And the UAE is also the enemy of peace. After supporting the Saudi-led onslaught on Yemen, the UAE claimed to have withdrawn from the conflict after five years. However, it went on to arm militias in the country, which continued their war against civilians and deepened the horrific humanitarian crisis caused by the conflict. 

During the Covid-19 pandemic, anyone critical of their government’s response was threatened with prosecution, adding further horror to the tragedy of the crisis.

And migrant workers who go to Dubai and elsewhere in the Gulf state to build its skyscrapers or clean houses for the wealthy have limited legal rights and often live in appalling conditions.

For these reasons – and more – Expo 2020 Dubai must be boycotted. 

GRW welcomes a similar call to boycott the event from the European Parliament, which voted on Thursday, 16 September, to call on sponsors to drop out of Expo. Many other individuals and groups who fight for human rights are already making the same call. 

We are proud to stand with them and now we ask you to do the same.

Human rights defenders worldwide must now push to ensure Expo 2020 Dubai, which was supposed to be a celebration of the UAE dictatorship, is instead a public relations nightmare for the regime.

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