UAE climate event organisers warn speakers not to ‘criticise corporations’

  • Date: 02-Apr-2023
  • Source: Financial Times
  • Sector:Oil & Gas
  • Country:UAE
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UAE climate event organisers warn speakers not to ‘criticise corporations’

Speakers at a climate and health conference in the United Arab Emirates were told not to protest or “criticise corporations” in a warning that cited the Gulf state’s laws, alarming campaigners ahead of the country hosting the UN’s COP28 climate summit this year.

Organisers advised panellists at last month’s Forecasting Healthy Futures event in Abu Dhabi, the UAE capital and its richest emirate, to “be aware and respectful of UAE laws”, and warned: “Do not criticise Islam, UAE government, corporations or individuals”, and “do not protest”.

The written guidance, seen by the Financial Times, added: “We understand that climate change can be a controversial subject and we welcome all perspectives and opinions in civil discourse throughout the programme agenda. Protesting is illegal in the United Arab Emirates and any instances of disruptive protesting will be handled by the local authorities.”

Climate activists said the restrictions on free speech raised more questions about the suitability of the oil-rich UAE to host the annual UN climate summit, which will take place in November and December. Top scientists have warned of a “rapidly closing window” to limit global warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.

“This is deeply concerning,” said Collin Rees, of Oil Change International, a US

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