The European Parliament passed a resolution calling on the Member States not to participate in the Expo 2020 Dubai, and for international companies to withdraw their sponsorship. They did this based on the nation's human rights track record.
Expo 2020 is expected to take place between October 2021 and March 2022 and is part of the rotating World's Expo. It was created to display the culture and achievements of the participating nations.
However, the decision by the BIE (Bureau International des Expositions) to hold this year's expo in Dubai has drawn backlash from human rights groups due to the UAE's treatment of women and migrant workers, as well as its role in the Yemeni war.
Husain Abdulla, Executive Director at European Center for Democracy & Human Rights (ECDHR) said in a statement, “This resolution is an important step toward holding the UAE government accountable for its ongoing systematic human rights violations against its own citizens and its utter disregard to international law.
The UAE government has embraced an array of tactics to whitewash and cover its horrible human rights record, one of the leading methods being Dubai Expo 2020. Today’s vote by the European Parliament urging businesses and European member states to withdraw from this blood-tinted expo is a victory for human rights in the UAE, Europe and everywhere.”
NGOs have been calling for the government and leaders to boycott the Expo.
“The European Parliament has taken a strong stand today against the brutal dictators of Dubai. The UAE monarchy has engaged in a cascade of human rights violations, including widespread abuses against women and war crimes in Yemen. The UAE Dubai Expo is organized by a member of the ruling family who himself has been accused of rape," said Sunjeev Bery, Executive Director at Freedom Forward, a lead NGO organizer of the boycott effort.
"Without attention on these violations, there will be no accountability. And without accountability, there will be no justice and no end to the UAE'S human rights abuses. These European parliamentarians have set the standard for responsible leadership when it comes to holding the UAE abusers behind the Dubai Expo accountable. It is shocking that any other invitees, be they CEO or diplomat, would even consider legitimizing criminals by attending this dictator expo.”
The UAE on Friday rejected the resolution as "factually incorrect," Reuters reported.
"Every country has its own laws and legal institutions, the UAE constitution and national legislation enshrines fundamental rights which provide for the fair treatment of all citizens and residents," the Emirati foreign ministry said in a statement.