UN COP28 climate summit sees rare demonstration for imprisoned Emirati, Egyptian human rights defenders

AP reported on 2 December 2023 that protesters at the United Nations’ COP28 climate summit demonstrated Saturday for imprisoned human rights activists in Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, the past and current host of the negotiations.

Demonstrators carried signs bearing the image of Emirati activist Ahmed Mansoor and Egyptian pro-democracy activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah, part of incredibly restricted, but still-unprecedented protests being allowed to take place within the UAE from within the U.N.-administered Blue Zone for the summit.

However, just before the demonstration organized by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, protesters had to fold over signs bearing the Emirati detainees’ names — even after they already had crossed out messages about them. The order came roughly 10 minutes before the protest was due to start from the U.N., which said it could not guarantee the security of the demonstration, said Joey Shea, a researcher at Human Rights Watch focused on the Emirates.

See also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2023/09/01/19-ngos-call-on-us-to-press-the-uae-to-release-ahmed-mansoor-ahead-of-cop-28/

“It is a shocking level of censorship in a space that had been guaranteed to have basic freedoms protected like freedom of expression, assembly and association,” Shea of HRW told The Associated Press.


This post was originally published on Hans Thoolen on Human Rights Defenders and their awards.