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22 Jul, 2015

UAE passes law to bar all forms of racial, social, cultural, ethnic discrimination

ABU DHABI, 20th July 2015 (WAM) — Attorney-General of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi on Monday stressed that the new law issued today by the UAE against any form of discrimination on the basis of religion, caste, creed, doctrine, race, colour or ethnic origin, following a Decree by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, will thwart any attempt to sow seeds of division in the country’s cohesive and diverse society.

In a statement, Ali Mohammed Al Balushi noted that the new anti-discrimination law was issued to protect all the components of the fabric of society and safeguard their privacy within a framework of respect that is in line with the International Human Rights Law, and more importantly, with the Arab Civilisation and the Islamic Civilisation.

The new law, No. 02 of 2015, criminalises any acts that stoke religious hatred and/or which insult religion through any form of expression, be it speech or the written word, books, pamphlets or via online media. The law also includes provisions for punishing anyone for terming other religious groups or individuals as infidels, or unbelievers.

Al Balushi noted that these punishments are in line with the spirit of Islamic culture embraced by the county’s society which rejects hatred and discrimination.

The law is intended to provide a sound foundation for the environment of tolerance, broad­ mindedness and acceptance in the UAE and aims to safeguard people, regardless of their origin, beliefs or race, against acts that promote religious hate and intolerance.

The law prohibits any act that would be considered as insulting God, his prophets or apostles or holy books or houses of worship or graveyards. It also has provisions to fight discrimination against individuals or groups on the basis of religion, caste, doctrine, race, colour or ethnic origin.

The law condemns actions that would comprise hate speech or the promotion of discrimination or violence against others using any form of media, including online, print, radio or visual media.

Al Balushi also noted that as strict action will taken against any form of expressions of hatred or incitement to hate crimes, spread in the form of speech and published media, will protect society from any attempt to damage its security.

The law also criminalises any act that amounts to abuse of religion or vandalism of religious rituals, holy sites or symbols, and takes a serious view of violence on the basis of religious doctrines.