The UAE government is working ceaselessly to tighten their control on dissent for which they are targeting the UK for its endless military and political support. Around the world, the UAE has conjured up an image of a country which is intent on building a sound infrastructure, skyscrapers that defy imagination and a lavish lifestyle that can attract expats to the country, like bees are to honey.
However, people seem ignorant to the fact that behind the shiny façade and the innumerable PR campaigns, the UAE is a country which is built with the blood of labor brought from South East Asian countries, who work in less than humane conditions. The flamboyant image of this police state is somewhat becoming apparent to those who are paying attention to the government of UAE, buying arms and weapons technology by using their political and military connections.
However, that doesn’t legitimize their abuses. Emirate forces have often been accused of undertaking surveillance programs which are especially targeted at journalists to keep an eye on their activities, as well as other human right activists that dare to put their black deeds on paper and the critics that have made their distaste for the dictator regime quite plain. In the past, Rori Donaghy, who is an acclaimed journalist and head of the Emirates Centre for Human Rights, was monitored by spyware and other malicious surveillance techniques.
This limitation of basic human rights in the UAE is not the first time their government has tried to silence their critics, but the emirati authorities refuse to listen or pay heed to the petitions and the voices that call for reform. All they have ever done is dismantling the organizations which are willing and daring enough to take it upon their self to speak in favor of human rights, democracy and equality. Some have even been stripped of their citizenship or have been deported.
Despite its abuses, the UAE has continued to build its military strength by seeking aid from powerful nations such as the UK and has played a key role in the Saudi-driven attack on Yemen, which killed more than 6,400 people. UAE government officials have often tried to reinforce their relationships with the UK by conducting illusive meetings with David Cameron and have spent millions of pounds on positive lobbying. The bloated military spending has reached over £9 billion, making UAE one of the five biggest weapon importers in the world, with UK playing a dominant role in making their perusal for weaponry a success.
With almost £172 million of arms sales last year, trade relations with the UK have improved further, paving the way for future social and cultural collaborations. Although 100,000 UK nationals live in the UAE, it still doesn’t give the UK a precedent to support a state which is nothing more than a glorified dictator. It may have become a business and trade hub and a playground of the powerful and the rich who march to the beckoning attraction of its modern façade; however, the human rights violations and the state’s iridescent disregard for freedom of speech and democracy is enough to influence the UK to rethink its approach of culminating trade relations with the country.