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UAE ‘espionage’ discussed on sidelines of UN Human Rights Council 

April 4, 2024 at 1:46 pm

55th session of Human Rights Council at the United Nations Office in Geneva, Switzerland on February 26, 2024 [Muhammet İkbal Arslan/Anadolu Agency]

Allegations of “espionage activities” conducted by a Swiss company on behalf of the UAE have been discussed at an event on the sidelines of the 55th Session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. Organised by the International Institute for Rights and Development – Geneva, the programme brought together experts, media representatives, academics, international missions, researchers and victims to discuss the ramifications of the scandal known as “Abu Dhabi Secrets”.

They gathered under the heading “Espionage, Ethics, and Impact – Cybersecurity and Right to Privacy ‘Abu Dhabi Secrets'” to look at the controversial Swiss company Alp Services and its alleged espionage activities, particularly in 2021, related to private intelligence missions reportedly conducted for the UAE intelligence services.

The key topics discussed included the significance of ethical concerns in intelligence and investigative operations; the role of the media, the involvement of journalists, and the consequent impact on public trust; the legal challenges posed by the actions of private intelligence firms and their regulatory complexities; and the human impact, with victims’ stories shared to underscore the personal and organisational consequences of espionage.

The institute pledged to follow up on this scandal and bring it to the attention of the general public and media. It also said that it will support the victims in raising their voices and seeking legal protection. Many, it pointed out, may still be unaware that they have been or still are targeted.

A press conference is scheduled by the institute to be held at the European Union in Brussels to publicise the issue in the hope that more victims will come forward to discuss the ethical and socio-economic impacts of the scandal on their lives.

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