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The U.S. and the UAE Human Rights Comparison Annotated Bibliography

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Updated: Jul 6th, 2021


The United Arab Emirates, along with a variety of other Islamic countries, is frequently accused of violating human rights. The most prominent example is the difference between how men and women are treated in the country. However, there are also concerns about freedom of speech and religion, as well as a variety of other potential issues. With that said, the entities that typically handle human rights issues around the world appear to restrict their actions regarding the matter to nonbinding reprimands and refuse to intervene in any way. Most of the world’s biggest economies continue working with these nations without making their concerns known. It is interesting to learn why they act in this manner and how human rights, in general, are seen in the UAE.

Unlike the Arabic nation, the United States is generally seen as a country where human rights are observed to a high and possibly exemplary degree. Many of the freedoms set in international law have been set in the U.S. Constitution centuries before the formation of the United Nations. While the nation’s performance has not always been perfect, as indicated by past scandals, it has generally maintained a high standard of civil liberty.

Whenever violations are brought to light, they tend to be investigated thoroughly by both the public and the authorities and rectified. As such, the United States serves as an excellent point of comparison for the UAE, where problematic cases are often suppressed through control of the press. A detailed analysis of the two nations can reveal significant and noteworthy differences between the overall attitudes of the U.S. and UAE.

In addition to identifying these variations in how the two entities approach human rights, it is also necessary to explain why the differences exist. As mentioned above, the U.S. Constitution guarantees many rights, and the importance of the document in the country’s law means that they are protected carefully. An investigation of UAE legislation can reveal whether its breaches are permitted or facilitated by the government.

Additionally, it may be beneficial to investigate the differences between the two nations’ historical majority religions, Christianity and Islam, and their effects. Lastly, an investigation into the history of the two nations and their development of human rights protections is warranted. It can show whether the difference in current situations is a matter of the UAE has had a shorter time to progress rather than a conscious refusal.

Annotated Bibliography

“2018 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: United Arab Emirates.” U.S. Department of State. Web.

The United States Department of State collects information on various countries around the world and publishes yearly human rights reports. Its analysis of the United Arab Emirates is extensive and highlights a variety of issues. It highlights a high number of various behaviors that violate the concept, many of which were state-sanctioned. Examples include arbitrary arrests, allegations of torture, violations of privacy, restrictions on free expression, criminalization of homosexuality, and an absence of a free and fair election mechanism. Each of these matters is discussed in considerable detail, covering both the positive and negative aspects associated with each issue. The report draws on information from both government agencies and independent reporters, which makes it more trustworthy.

“United States.” Human Rights Watch. Web.

The United States does not conduct human rights analyses of itself because of the inherent bias and untrustworthiness of such an activity. However, many different organizations around the world address this deficiency and consider the nation’s performance. The Human Rights Watch offers an extensive report on the U.S., separated into categories such as criminal justice, immigration, and racial discrimination. In particular, the organization discusses the abuses of undocumented immigrants that are motivated by their inability to obtain protection. The nation’s excessively harsh punishments and large prison population also receive significant attention. Overall, there are many potentially problematic situations surrounding human rights in the United States, but they occur in a significantly smaller scope than in the UAE.

Esmaeili, Hossein, et al. The Rule of Law, Freedom of Expression and Islamic Law. Bloomsbury, 2017.

Hossein Esmaeili, Irmgard Marboe, and Javaid Rehman engage in the analysis of the fundamental basis of Islamic law and its applicability to human rights. They find that there are critical differences between the Western paradigm of law, which is based on liberalism and separation of powers, and the divinely mandated Islamic legislation. Moreover, the authors conclude that the latter paradigm is not compatible with freedom of expression and requires boundaries to exist. However, the authors find that there is still an opportunity for Islamic law to incorporate modern principles and respect human rights. With that said, many current Islamic countries are not working toward implementing such developments in practice, and the authors advocate for reform and modernization.

Morton, Michael Quentin. Keepers of the Golden Shore: A History of the United Arab Emirates. Reaktion Books, 2016.

Michael Quentin Morton discusses the history of the United Arab Emirates, which should be taken into consideration when the nation’s development is discussed. He covers the region from before 630 AD up until the present day, highlighting the important events and practices that were prevalent at different times. The book analyzes the relationships between the different sheikhdoms before the unification in 1971 and their opinions regarding the act. Of particular note is anti-British sentiment before the formation of the UAE, which may have contributed to the initial rejection of its legal paradigms. The book provides a helpful perspective on the balance of power in the nation, the opinions of its people, and the considerations that are currently at its center of attention.

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"The U.S. and the UAE Human Rights Comparison." IvyPanda, 6 July 2021, ivypanda.com/essays/the-us-and-the-uae-human-rights-comparison/.

1. IvyPanda. "The U.S. and the UAE Human Rights Comparison." July 6, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-us-and-the-uae-human-rights-comparison/.


IvyPanda. "The U.S. and the UAE Human Rights Comparison." July 6, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-us-and-the-uae-human-rights-comparison/.


IvyPanda. 2021. "The U.S. and the UAE Human Rights Comparison." July 6, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-us-and-the-uae-human-rights-comparison/.


IvyPanda. (2021) 'The U.S. and the UAE Human Rights Comparison'. 6 July.

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