European Commission highlights UAE's efforts to promote human rights

Margaritis Schinas highlighted the Gulf country's "growing international presence"

AP/KENZO TRIBOUILLARD  -   European Commission Vice-President Margaritis Schinas, left, speaks with Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton during a press conference.

The Vice-President of the European Commission says the recent election of the United Arab Emirates to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) for the third time reflects the Arab country's "growing international presence".

These statements were reported by the Emirates News Agency (WAM), in which Margaritis Schinas described the UAE as "a pole of power, influence and inspiration".

Schinas recently visited the UAE to attend the activities and events organised on the occasion of the European Union's Day of Honour at Expo 2020 in Dubai, which took place last Saturday in the pavilions of EU Member States.

"The outcome of the UNHRC vote is proof that the UAE's efforts to strengthen human rights and freedoms have borne fruit and are further proof of the importance of human rights in the UAE.

"The UAE's growing international presence and the agreement to normalise its relations with Israel show that the country is a key factor in securing and promoting stability in the region. The UAE is undoubtedly a country that has the power to inspire and influence," said the European Commissioner.

Flags of the European Union

Among other responsibilities, Schinas is entrusted with overseeing the integration of migrants and refugees. He assured that the international community will be able to continue to "count on the contribution of the United Arab Emirates" to the current Afghan refugee crisis.

"The EU held a High Level Forum on the Protection of Afghans at Risk on 7 October, where we announced that we will launch an Afghan-specific multi-year support plan as our contribution to global efforts, and I am confident that the international community will also be able to continue to count on the UAE's contribution to provide legal, safe and organised pathways for Afghan nationals. I believe the UAE can be deeply proud of the work it has been doing together with its partners in the international community to help the Afghan people cope with the humanitarian crisis they are facing," he added. 

"The EU has also been devoting all its efforts to ensure the rapid evacuation of those in need, having managed to assist approximately 10,000 people in evacuations under our Civil Protection Mechanism prior to the closure of the airport," he said. 

AFP/KARIM SAHIB - Registration open for Dubai Expo 2020 volunteer programme

However, the EU Commissioner expressed concern about the situation in Afghanistan despite all international efforts.

On his participation in Expo 2020 in Dubai, Schinas said that the event "offers an opportunity for people to reconnect and provides new perspectives through music, food, architecture and culture".

This world fair, he continued, "allows us all to discuss and find solutions to the common challenges we face and as a global community, we need these opportunities to come together and generate common momentum to tackle issues such as climate change".

"In Europe, we know that global challenges require global solutions. And that is why we are here at Expo 2020 to contribute to the dialogue to address global challenges in a spirit of cooperation and solidarity among all," he said.

He also took the opportunity to congratulate the Emirati authorities on the "good organisation of the first post-pandemic global event" and said the Expo "reflects the ambitious vision and global aspirations of this country".

However, he stressed that there is still much work to be done to ensure that vaccines reach everyone. The EU is leading the way and has already exported more than a billion doses to third countries in an effort supported by the United Arab Emirates.