Anti-Discriminatory Law Issued in UAE

The Anti-Discriminatory Law issued following a decree by President Sheikh Khalifa, seeks to criminalize any act that promotes religious hatred and/or which insults religion through any form of expression.

The law covers any speech, written words, books, brochures or anything that is projected through online media, print,  radio and/ or visual media. The law also includes provisions for punishing a person for categorizing other religious groups or individuals as nonbelievers or infidels. UAE aims to protect people regardless of their origin, beliefs or race, against acts which promote religious intolerance.

This new law further prohibits any group or entity formed specifically to provoke religious hatred and suggests strict consequences for groups or people who choose to support such hate crimes. In addition to this, the law bans events, including conferences and meetings in UAE, which are organised with the purpose of spreading discrimination against individuals or groups, on the basis of faith, origin or race. Receiving financial support for such activities is punishable.

Anyone involved in any such activity that violates the law is encouraged by the law to voluntarily confess their statement before the authorities and has provisions allowing the courts to waive penalties in such cases.

Penalties for violation of the provisions of the law include jail terms ranging from six months to more than 10 years and fines from Dh50,000 to Dh2 million.

The new law does not contradict with any other existing laws which are meant to protect specially privileged groups in the society such as women, children and individuals with disabilities or others.