United Arab Emirates authorities continue to invest in a “soft power” strategy aimed at painting the country as a progressive, tolerant, and rights-respecting nation. Many activists and dissidents, some of whom have completed their sentences, remain detained simply for exercising their rights to free expression and association. Prisons across the UAE hold detainees in dismal and unhygienic conditions, where overcrowding and lack of adequate medical care are widespread. The UAE continues to block representatives of international human rights organizations and UN experts from conducting in-country research and visiting prisons and detention facilities.

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