May 3, 2011
UAE Dissolves the Teachers’ Association
By Jenifer Fenton

The United Arab Emirates dissolved the elected board of directors of the Teachers’ Association on Monday, according to activist Mohammed al-Mansoori. The 11 members of the board were replaced by five state appointees.

The decree signed by Social Affairs Minister Mariam Mohammed Khalfan Al Roumi said the Teachers’ Association violated the UAE’s Law on Associations, which bans nongovernmental organizations from interfering “in politics or in matters that impair State security and its ruling regime,” according to Human Rights Watch.

Last month, the UAE dissolved the elected board of directors of the Jurist Association, also replacing the board with state appointees. The two groups signed a petition to President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and the members of the Supreme Council of the seven Emirates on March 9 asking for direct elections. The petition also asked that the Federal National Council be granted legislative powers. The body is only an advisory one.

In April, Emirati authorities arrested a prominent human rights activist Ahmed Mansoor and four others on accusations that included opposing the government. The five were “held in preventative custody” on accusations that they committed crimes that include undermining the public order, opposing the government system and insulting the president, vice president and crown prince of Abu Dhabi, the state-run WAM news agency reported.

Mansoor is a “leading human rights activist who had publicly called for political freedoms and an elected parliament,” Human Rights Watch said. Mansoor, who signed the petition to the UAE president, is also a member of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East advisory committee