United Arab Emirates

Human Rights Watch Country Profiles: Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

The following country profiles are derived in part from sections of the Human Rights Watch 2019 World Report that relate to the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.

Acceptance of LGBT people and rights has increased around the world

New Global Acceptance Index ranks 141 countries on LGBT acceptance and legal protections and provides a link between inclusion and GDP per capita. 

The question of the death penalty

The resolution condemns the imposition of the death penalty as a sanction for specific forms of conduct

16 ‘Pro-LGBT’ businesses that operate in countries with poor human rights records

Big corporations have come out to criticize state religious liberty measures in Georgia, Mississippi, and North Carolina as discriminating against those who aren’t heterosexual, some going as far as to propose boycotting states that enact such laws.

Gay wrestler Darren Young slams WWE tour of United Arab Emirates

Darren Young has criticized the WWE for its three-day tour of the United Arab Emirates, where gay sex is illegal. WWE decided not to take the openly gay wrestler to Abu Dhabi for his own safety.


‘Why do we bring the best entertainment into a country [sic] like Abu Dhabi and they look down upon women and gays? I get it! #MillionsofDollars,’ he tweeted on Tuesday (10 February) night.

Within minutes, Young deleted the tweets, seemingly at the behest of WWE, and replaced them with the following posts: ‘My freedom of speech is gone. Gone but not forgotten.

Debates at Davos Get Around to Gay Rights

This year, for the first time, the World Economic Forum is addressing the issue of gay and lesbian rights on the formal agenda for Davos...

25 Senators Urge Obama to Stand Up for LGBT Rights Worldwide

Senators are pressuring President Obama to step up and appoint a special envoy for LGBT rights to the U.S. Department of State to protect LGBT people internationally.

President Obama got a letter Friday from 25 Democratic senators urging him to make a change on his global LGBT policy before the end of the year.

“In nearly eighty nations around the world there exist laws that criminalize homosexuality, prohibit public support for the LGBT community, or promote homophobia,” wrote the senators, asking the president to appoint a special envoy for LGBT human rights in the U.S. Department of State. “In seven countries, homosexuality is punishable by death. Even more troubling, though, is the recent trend of countries passing barbaric laws that deliberately try to persecute the LGBT community.” Read More

The Closeted Continent

38 out of 55 African nations have laws punishing sodomy. And things may get worse before they get better.

The progress for LGBT equality has been powered by an increasingly potent global gay rights movement driven by major international organizations like Human Rights Campaign and the International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission, as well as smaller grassroots gay groups that have sprouted up (or, in some cases, chosen to work underground for fear of activists' safety) in many dozens of countries worldwide.

Elsewhere in the world, though, signs of momentum in the global gay rights struggle are fueling a determined effort to slam the closet door though legal measures, harassment, and violence. Read More