“What an incredible year in so many ways, full of ups and downs, of setbacks and progress. We have seen such unprecedented abuses within the prisons, with the covid umbrella of protection against questions. We have seen governments and embassies overrun with pleadings for help, emergency repatriations and serious complaints of denial of medical and basic humanitarian services.
“We have seen the most glorious reunions, with long term prisoners finally free to return home. Morag Koussa, Malcolm Faren, MB, Alan Stevenson, Conor Howard and hundreds of others were able to spend this New Year at home, with their friends and families, thanks to our great work at Detained in Dubai.
“Amazing progress has been made with our endeavours to make foreign governments and their agents accountable for their abuse of foreign nationals, with multiple litigious actions lodged in the US and English courts, as well as the United Nations. This groundbreaking and important work will lead to long term change in the gulf, ultimately protecting foreign nationals from egregious human rights violations and torture.
“And, our efforts to end Interpol Abuse are stronger than ever, with the issue finally in front of legislators and policy makers, and a strong focus of the international media. Our “hands on” experience with Interpol abuse, removal of red notices, expert testimony and extradition defence has not only saved lives on a case by case basis, but has proven crucial to end Interpol’s corrupt and abusive practices.
“We have lobbied for legislative reforms and the UAE government has finally responded, taking some steps to change local laws, particularly in relation to sex outside marriage, which previously had seen rape victims jailed. While many more reforms are needed in order to make the country safe, these changes are a sign of good faith and of future intentions.
“And the biggest change of all this year, is in the UAE’s peace deal with Israel which will see major social and economical movements, and we are hopeful that these changes will be long term positive for stability in the region.
“The overall and underlying issues in the UAE remain. Despite United Nations efforts, Princess Latifa and Princess Shamsa remain in captivity. The judiciary remains under the control of the ruling and Emirati elite. Foreigners continue to be seen as prey and their businesses and investments as gifts to exploitative locals and Interpol continues to be seen as a tool for punishment, spite, slander and extortion. We will continue to promote diplomatic and governmental diplomatic intervention in cases of wrongful detention and human rights violations and to spotlight cases in the international media.
“We have launched our Podcast this year, Gulf in Justice, to fully explore specific cases, issues and policy in the Middle East. The Podcast has already been influential in ensuring the freedom of victims of injustice.
“We will continue to fight for freedom, justice and permanent changes that will shield against future abuse and make the region a safer place for generations to come.
“We wish you a joyous New Year and extend our hearts to all those who are detained, are missing their loved ones or are otherwise facing challenging times. May you take comfort in the hope that this coming year, will bring you your freedom, reunion with loved ones and a brighter, better experience.
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