Law No. 2 of 2015 against Discrimination and Hatred, criminalizing all forms of discrimination on the grounds of religion, caste, creed, doctrine, race, color or ethnic origin, was enacted following a decree by the president of the United Arab Emirates Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahayan, on 15 July 2015.
The Law is drafted in broad terms to ensure that it encompasses all discriminatory conduct regardless of how it is expressed. In this regard the Law criminalizes and condemns any acts that incite religious hatred or which insult religion and actions comprising hate speech or the promotion of discrimination or violence against others through any form of expression whether oral or written. This covers speech and the written word, books, pamphlets or via online and media, including online, print, radio visual media or social media.
The law also stipulates for punishment against anyone for calling other religious groups or individuals as infidels or unbelievers, and prohibits any acts insulting God, his prophets or apostles or holy books or houses of worship or graveyards.
The law further has provisions for fighting discrimination against individuals or groups on the basis of religion, caste, doctrine, race, color or ethnic origin.
Furthermore, Article 6 of the Law states in broad terms that a person who commits an act of discrimination may face imprisonment of up to 5 years and/or a fine of between AED 500,000 and AED 1,000,000.
Pursuant Article 9 of the Law, the same penalties may be imposed where a discriminatory act is committed by a public employee upon or due to performing his job.
The legislator’s intentions behind the law are to reinforce the sound foundation upon which the UAE society was built, and preserving the environment of tolerance, broad mindedness and wide acceptance in the UAE of other cultures, races, and religions. The law further aims to secure and safeguard people living in the UAE regardless of their origin, religious beliefs or race, against acts that incite hatred and intolerance.
This is particularly important in a multi-cultural country and society as the UAE, where individuals of different ethnicity, religions, races and colors, from all over the world come together to live and work, and where the expatriate population forms more than 85% of the general population.
If you have been the victim of an act of discrimination on the grounds of religion, caste, creed, doctrine, race, color or ethnic origin, you may contact our expert legal advisers and criminal lawyers in Dubai, who will handhold you through the judicial process of exerting your rights, where you will be represented by the leading law firm in Dubai and the UAE, ProConsult Advocate & Legal Consultants.