United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a federation of seven semiautonomous emirates with a resident population of approximately 9.3 million, of whom an estimated 11 percent are citizens. The rulers of the seven emirates, respectively, constitute the Federal Supreme Council, the country’s highest legislative and executive body. The council selects a president and a vice president from its membership, and the president appoints the prime minister and cabinet. A limited, appointed electorate participates in periodic elections for the partially elected Federal National Council (FNC), a consultative body that examines, reviews, and recommends changes to legislation and may discuss topics for legislation. The FNC consists of 40 representatives allocated proportionally to each emirate based on population; half are elected members while the remainder are appointed by the leaders of their respective emirates. There are no political parties. The last election was in 2015, when an appointed electorate of approximately 224,000 citizens, making up one-fifth of the total citizen population, elected 20 FNC members. Citizens may express their concerns directly to their leaders through traditional consultative mechanisms such as the open majlis (forum).
Civilian authorities maintained effective control over the security forces.
The most significant human rights issues included allegations of torture in detention; arbitrary arrest and detention, including incommunicado detention; government interference with privacy rights; limitations on the freedoms of speech and press, including criminalization of libel and arrests and detentions for internet postings or commentary; restrictions on assembly and association; the inability of citizens to choose their government in free and fair elections; and criminalization of same sex sexual activity, although no cases were publicly reported during the year. The government did not permit workers to join independent unions and did not effectively prevent physical and sexual abuse of foreign domestic servants and other migrant workers.
The government investigated, prosecuted, and brought to conviction cases of official corruption. There were no reports of impunity involving security forces during the year. There was, however, no publicly available information on whether the government investigated allegations of abuses committed by authorities.