Restrictions on speech and protest in the United Arab Emirates are complicating U.N. approval of an Amnesty event at COP28 demanding the release of Emirati political prisoners, the group's secretary-general said Tuesday.

Speaking on the sidelines of the United Nations climate talks in Dubai, Agnes Callamard said the obstacles hampering activist actions within a U.N.-managed Blue Zone at the COP venue are slightly larger than previous years despite no changes to the guidelines.

"The U.N. has been trying to find ways for us to do our actions. It is taking a lot of steps and negotiations ... but it is working within an environment that is making them ... much more complicated," Callamard told reporters at the COP28 venue.