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Rights groups call for boycott of UAE-hosted World Tolerance Summit

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UAE flag [File photo]

Over 20 human rights organisations and experts have called on speakers at the 2019 World Tolerance Summit to withdraw in light of the Emirati government’s gross human violations in Yemen and the complete crackdown on civil liberties inside the United Arab Emirates.

An open letter signed by the Gulf Centre for Human Rights, Front Line Defenders and PEN International, said: “The Tolerance Summit is yet another tool in the UAE’s campaign to “whitewash” its human rights record.”

The 2019 World Tolerance Summit will be hosted by the UAE on 13-14 November and, according to ICFUAE, “demonstrates a further attempt to gloss over the Gulf state’s appalling human rights record”.

READ: UAE rights activist Mansoor on hunger strike

“Whilst 2019 has been declared a Year of Tolerance’ by the Emirati regime, freedom of expression is increasingly repressed by a police state using sophisticated surveillance technology imported from the UK, with a report in The New York Times showing how the UAE attempted to install spyware on the computers of 1,100 dissidents and journalists.”

The UK-based rights group added: “The Emirati regime has thus fostered a culture of silence diametrically opposed to the notion of tolerance.”

It highlighted the case of Ahmed Mansoor who was handed a ten year jail term “solely for exercising his right to freedom of expression”.

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