For both governments and NGOs in the Gulf, engagement and mutual respect is the path to success. Governments have to face up to some hard truths but the reputation gains are worth the pain. For NGOs, reports and campaigns only go so far, talking to governments who are the only ones who can enact change, is more likely to lead to success.
For many around the world, the UAE conjures up images of tall futuristic buildings, seven star hotels and oversized shopping complexes. However, behind the glamorous façade and expensive PR campaign, there lies an increasingly authoritarian police state that contrasts greatly the flamboyant image it likes to project.
An Emirati man has gone on trial accused of insulting a colleague with a "gay" handshake, on Tuesday. Dubai Court of Misdemeanors was told a 39-year-old Emirati man shook "the victim's" palm whilst tingling it with his middle finger. The court was also told by the prosecution that "the gesture was insulting and insinuated the recipient was homosexual."
A 56-year-old Indian man is facing the death penalty in Abu Dhabi for a crime he says he did not commit. Abandoned by his Embassy and former colleagues, Ezhur Gangadharan is in a desperate place. On 11 November he will appeal his conviction and his only hope is that support from the international community will pressure authorities into reviewing his case.