HRW calls on Obama to crack down on UAE abuses

April 15, 2013 at 2:52 PM

WASHINGTON, April 15 (UPI) -- Human rights groups are calling on U.S. President Barack Obama to crack down on abuses in the United Arab Emirates in a meeting with the nation's crown prince.

Obama and UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan are scheduled to meet in the Oval Office Tuesday, Human Rights Watch said. The group called on Obama to enforce previous calls to improve the human rights situation in the Arab state.

Recently, Human Rights Watch said things have gotten worse, citing a mass conviction of 94 government protesters, torture of detainees and an escalating crackdown of free speech.

"President Obama should make sure his meeting with al-Nahyan addresses the UAE's increasing disregard for basic human rights," said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. "The U.S. should use its leverage as a key trading partner and ally to press the UAE's leaders to end rights violations."

The group of 94 protesters were non-violent and include several prominent human rights workers, judges, teachers and students, Human Rights Watch said.

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