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Capital flight to UAE undermines human rights

Sanctions against Russia, and the seizure of oligarchs’ assets in the US and Europe have turned Dubai into a magnet for Russian capital.

Originally written for and published on The Times of Israel Blogs March 25th, 2022

Anyone concerned about human rights issues must inevitably be concerned about geopolitical issues as well. They must anticipate the repercussions of trends and events on the overall conditions in a society, or in a region, and how these conditions may lead to improvements or deteriorations in human rights protections.

For nearly a decade and a half, I have been involved in human rights and justice issues in the Gulf States and broader region, and I have long cautioned that the UAE in particular has become increasingly defiant of the international community in conjunction with its rise in economic power and strategic importance.

Suffice it to say that when Abu Dhabi refused to take calls from US President Joe Biden, I was not surprised. Nor was I surprised when the Emirates, along with Saudi Arabia, shrugged off the imminent energy crisis in Europe in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, as not their problem, rebuffing British Prime Minister Boris Johnson when he visited recently to ask the countries to increase oil exports. I have been calling for years for Western nations to reassess their relationship with the UAE, and to re-evaluate its status as an ally. The Ukraine war appears to have finally tipped the scales in Washington, London and Brussels towards such a reassessment; but it might just be too late.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson in Saudia Arabia, March 16, 2022. (Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire)