* UAE is important trading partner for EU
* But European Parliament resolution irked its rulers
DUBAI Oct 27 The United Arab Emirates has
condemned a European Parliament resolution criticising its human
rights record as "biased and prejudiced", accusing the chamber
of insufficient research.
The resolution, which was passed on Friday, attacked the
Gulf Arab state's treatment of political dissidents and its use
of the death penalty while calling on the major oil producer to
respect the rights of women and migrant workers.
The UAE is the world's fifth-largest oil exporter and is an
important business partner for the European Union, with
bilateral trade last year reaching 41.4 billion euros. Abu Dhabi
and Dubai, the richest, most populous of the seven emirates, are
also home to many European nationals.
"The biased and prejudiced report levelled unsubstantiated
accusations without examining the facts of the situation on the
ground," UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash
said late on Friday.
He praised the UAE's achievements "particularly in the field
of migrant workers rights ... and the empowerment of women",
saying that people from more than 200 nations lived in the
country "in an atmosphere of openness and tolerance".
The European resolution was not backed up by any threat of
action against the UAE, but international criticism of the U.S.
ally in the Gulf has caused friction in the past.
This summer the UAE blocked BP from bidding for a
major oil concession partly because of London's response to the
Arab Spring and due to criticism from British newspapers,
several well-placed sources in the emirates told Reuters in
The European parliament resolution said the UAE had
"accelerated its crackdown on human rights defenders and civil
society activists, bringing the number of political detainees to
64", most held in solitary confinement and without legal help.
It said others had been subjected to harassment, travel bans
In March, the UAE closed two international thinktanks
promoting democracy overseas, Germany's Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung
and the U.S.-funded National Democratic Institute, without
The UAE says it has no political prisoners and says the
detainees whose cases have been cited by international rights
groups are Islamist militants who threaten the state.
Last week, Gargash sent a tweet criticising Britain's
Guardian newspaper for an editorial in which it questioned the
UAE's human rights record.