UAE: leaked recording shows officials intent on limiting public debate at COP28

Centre for Climate Reporting obtains audio in which UAE officials are heard discussing how to restrict public discussion of climate change and human rights 

Dozens of unfairly-jailed civil society activists languish behind bars, while draconian laws allow for the arrest of almost anyone expressing dissent

‘The UAE’s priority at COP28 appears to be greenwashing its fossil fuel expansion plans and massaging its own reputation’ - Marta Schaaf

Following the Centre for Climate Reporting organisation obtaining a recording of a COP28 strategy meeting in which UAE officials are heard discussing how to restrict public discussion of climate change and human rights issues at the international gathering in Dubai later this year, Marta Schaaf, Amnesty International’s Director of Climate, Economic and Social Justice, and Corporate Accountability, said:

“The UAE’s priority at COP28 appears to be greenwashing its fossil fuel expansion plans and massaging its own reputation by seeking to avoid discussion of its dismal human rights record and continuing abuses.

“The UAE has pledged to hold an inclusive COP, but this ambition will fall flat if it limits public debate to carefully-scripted talking points.

“It is hard to imagine an inclusive COP when the UAE’s draconian and ill-defined laws allow for the arrest of almost anyone expressing dissent, the suppression and continued detention of critics and political opponents, and the criminalisation of same-sex relationships.

“To avert a full-scale climate catastrophe, it is vital that this COP agrees to bring the fossil fuel era to a swift and just end.”

Sixty still in jail after notorious mass trial

The 28th Conference of Parties (COP28) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is scheduled to be held in Dubai between 30 November and 12 December. Amnesty has previously expressed opposition to Sultan Al Jaber presiding over this vital meeting while he heads ADNOC, the UAE’s state oil company, which has plans to expand its production of hydrocarbons.

It is more than a decade since the Emirati authorities sentenced 60 members of Emirati civil society groups to lengthy prison terms in a mass trial. None of these have been released, even though 55 of them have completed their sentence. Amnesty continues to call for their release.

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