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The United Arab Emirates (UAE) will reportedly welcome Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a leader involved in mass atrocities, at the global UN climate conference, COP28. civil society and human rights defenders will be released Outside in the cold.

If Assad does attend, it would be his first appearance at a global summit since the outbreak of the Syrian war in 2011.

UAE, which has shown little leadership on key issues like COP28 step by step ousting fossil fuels and halting new oil and gas expansions now seems poised to help polish his image, despite Assad’s oversight crimes against humanity against his own people. If Assad travels to Dubai, it will be his third visit to the country since 2022. The UAE government has not spoken publicly about crimes committed under its rule during any of its visits.

The Syrian government has committed serious crimes on a large scale and displaced millions of people. humanitarian aid continues armed estranged by the government and by populations opposed to Assad’s rule. war crimes Released: At the latest as of November 2022, Syrian government forces dropped banned cluster munitions In camps for internally displaced persons in northwestern Syria.

Meanwhile, Arab countries led by the United Arab Emirates have hurried To normalize relations with Assad’s government without demanding accountability for the grave abuses committed over the past 12 years. The Arab League re-inducted Syria on May 7, 2023, after suspending it in 2011, and apparently made no requirement that Syria respect the human rights of its population.

While Assad is set to be welcomed, it is unclear whether independent members of Emirati civil society will be able to meaningfully participate in the COP28 conference. climate negotiations, given the severe repression of the country and the complete closure of civilian space. Since 2011, the UAE authorities have launched a sustained assault on freedom of expression and association, arrest and imprison scores of critics of the government and activistIncluding Ahmed Mansour, a prominent Emirati human rights defender.

What’s more, UAE Appointed Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, CEO of the government’s Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) the most important fossil fuel companyAs the President of COP28,. he will be maintain His role in ADNOC while serving as COP President. ADNOC has recently announced It was expanding all aspects of its fossil fuel operations.

It is outrageous that a conference designed to encourage ambitious climate action is being exploited to bring the Assad government back into the international fold, without any effort to ensure accountability for the widespread abuses. Governments attending COP28 must ensure that serious crimes committed under the Assad regime are investigated and prosecuted.

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