Human rights activists united in London on Monday to express their disapproval of the decision to host the Cop28 climate conference in the United Arab Emirates. The gathering, organized by ALQST, a group that monitors human rights violations in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Arab nations, took place outside the UAE’s embassy. Prominent organizations like FairSquare, Amnesty International, PEN International, and the MENA Solidarity Network were present at the event.
Julia Legner, the executive director of ALQST, strongly criticized the choice of hosting the global climate conference in a country that significantly contributes to the climate crisis.
One major concern expressed by activists is the potential conflict of interest arising from the UAE’s significant economic reliance on the petrochemical industry. They fear that this economic dependence may impede the nation’s ability to make substantial progress in combating climate change.
The appointment of Sultan Ahmed Al-Jaber, the CEO of the UAE’s national oil company, Adnoc, as the president of this year’s summit faced widespread criticism. While Al-Jaber has advocated for the phasing out of emissions from oil and gas production, he has not committed to reducing the UAE’s own production and usage, a stance that Amnesty International has condemned.
Independent experts from Climate Action Tracker, a scientific project, have assessed the UAE’s plan for an expansion in fossil fuel production and consumption. Their conclusion is that this plan is incompatible with the objective of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, which is the primary goal of the 2016 Paris Agreement.
The demonstration on Monday aimed not only to address concerns about the UAE’s climate policies but also to shed light on its dismal human rights record. The activists emphasized the need for the international community to take these issues seriously and hold the UAE accountable for its human rights abuses.
Human Rights Violation In UAE
The protest drew attention to various human rights concerns, including freedom of expression, arbitrary detentions, and violations of workers’ rights. Organizations such as ALQST, FairSquare, Amnesty International, PEN International, and the MENA Solidarity Network used the opportunity to raise awareness and call for action on these pressing matters.
While the Cop28 conference presents an opportunity for global leaders to address climate change and formulate collective solutions, the decision to hold it in the UAE has ignited debate and criticism.
Human rights activists are determined to ensure that the climate crisis and human rights violations remain at the forefront of international discussions, urging meaningful action and accountability from the UAE and other nations.