Leaked Recording of U.A.E. Officials Reveals the Nation’s Concern Over Its Public Image
When the United Arab Emirates hosts this year’s United Nations climate summit, it will elevate the Gulf nation’s global profile. But the conference is also inviting scrutiny of the Emirates’ record on human rights as well as its position as a leading oil producer.
A leaked recording of a February meeting between representatives from the United Arab Emirates and summit organizers provides a candid look at their efforts to respond to the criticism. It also highlights the authoritarian state’s focus on its image, managed through contracts with public relations companies, lobbyists and social media specialists around the world.
Hosting the global summit, known as COP28, had given rise to unwelcome questions about the Emirates’ human rights record and “alarm bells started going off,” one Emirati official, who identified herself as head of the human rights office at the presidential court, told the gathering.
Taped in its entirety by a participant, the recording was obtained by the Centre for Climate Reporting, a London-based nonprofit organization, and shared with the The…