Britain’s Relationship with UAE Needs Updating: Independent

Britain’s Relationship with UAE Needs Updating: Independent
Tue Dec 22, 2015 17:05:52

Independent newspaper asked British government to revise its relationship with UAE regarding the disastrous situation of human rights and freedom of expression in the Arab country, Al-Alam News Network reports.

David Haigh, the former chief executive of Leeds United, will spend this Christmas in jail in Dubai, having been accused of the ludicrous crime of “cyber slander”. Mr. Haigh, 38, who claims to have been tricked into going to Dubai in the first place, had expected to return to Britain last month after serving 18 months of a two-year sentence for financial misappropriation.

We do not know if Mr. Haigh is guilty, though Dubai’s legal traditions don’t offer much comfort. But his story is one of several that have entered the public domain in recent times. Another, which we also report today, concerns 32-year-old Michael Halliday, from the Midlands. Mr. Halliday is fighting extradition to the United Arab Emirates, having been accused of theft. Dubai’s treatment of sexual minorities doesn’t offer much comfort there, either.

Britain’s relationship with the Arab States in Persian Gulf could emerge as a significant diplomatic theme in the year ahead. Over the past few years, those states have invested heavily in our civic and physical infrastructure, buying football clubs, hotels and almost everything in between. But their record on human rights is often terrible. This newspaper has reported, for instance, on the appalling treatment of workers and suppression of free speech in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE – at a time when its royal family is said to be the biggest landowner in Mayfair, as well as buying other chunks of the capital and Manchester City FC.

The Persian Gulf States have also been non-compliant on two of the biggest security challenges facing Britain today. Several of them refused to take their fair share of desperate refugees over the summer. And any lasting solution to Syria’s anarchy will need regional neighbors such as the UAE to be much more fully engaged in the diplomatic effort than they are at present.

Dubious judicial processes for British citizens, billions of mostly inward investment, and the need for co-operation in resolving the most pressing problem in modern geopolitics offer the context for a resetting of Britain’s relationship with the Arab countries; Independent reported.

S/SH

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