“I have been studying International Affairs for three years now, and have grown up in a family very involved in the political life of the United Arab Emirates. My degree has covered international law, political systems, foreign relations, and domestic policy, and this course in human rights has really developed my understanding of the way in which human rights interact with all other areas of my degree. It has transformed my knowledge from basic and abstract to one rooted in practice and experience”

“I think there are many human rights challenges in both the UAE and the wider Middle East, and many of them are to do with gender equality. Many people think that women are really oppressed in the UAE, but in fact that is changing, and things have improved a lot. People tend to generalise a lot about the Middle East, and think things are the same in the UAE as they are in Saudi Arabia, but that isn’t true. We have women ambassadors now, and women ministers. There is still lot to be done, especially in Saudi Arabia, where the country is very closed and not much is being done about it.

“I think the only way things will change is from within the country itself, outside pressure cannot change anything, and human rights awareness is the first step. Religion shouldn’t be used an excuse for oppression”

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