Andy Slaughter discusses how human rights are being overlooked with UAE trade deals being prioritised by the British government. “It’s something that should really worry the government very much. It’s very difficult not to conclude that a blind eye is being turned because of the advantages. It could be trade and commerce, it could be defence but that should not trump the human rights of the individual citizens”.
In a letter to Foreign Minister, Rt Hon. Dominic Raab, Slaughter and Baroness Whitaker, MP called for an increase in travel warnings and potential sanctions for human rights violations committed against British citizens like Albert Douglas.
Grandfather Albert Douglas was detained in Dubai over his son’s business debts, something that Radha Stirling, regional expert and host of Gulf in Justice, explains is very common in the UAE. Detained in Dubai’s client Morag Koussa, a British national, was released last year after being held for her estranged husband’s bank debts.
Albert Douglas, in a recorded phone call from prison, testified as to human rights violations, torture and the deprivation of much needed heart medication. Yet, the British government has not made the effort to request an inquiry into his unfair detention.
Stirling, an Expert Witness in extradition cases, confirms that British courts refuse to extradite to the UAE based on ‘the real risk of human rights violations, unfair trials and torture’. “So why has the UK not reflected these High Court rulings in their travel warnings to British nationals?”.
Slaughter calls out the FCDO “If we have this good relationship with the UAE, why are we not using that relationship to put pressure on the UAE, especially with British nationals”.
What is clear from this episode of Gulf in Justice, is that the UK is increasingly dependent on the UAE as a trade partner and a significant investor into UK infrastructure and private business. The UAE has paid its way to influence policy at the highest levels in the UK and the US which is putting individuals at increased and significant risk of grave violations.