UAE's anti-discrimination law protects human rights: activist

Haneef Hassan, Chairman, Geneva Centre for Human Rights Advancement and Global Dialogue. (EAY)

A landmark anti-discrimination law issued by the UAE last week will protect human rights and will have no effects on personal liberties in the country, a prominent human rights activist was quoted on Tuesday as saying.

Haneef Hassan, Chairman, Geneva Centre for Human Rights Advancement and Global Dialogue (GCHRAGD), said those who are opposed to the law on the grounds it will curb individual freedom have no idea about extremism and its dangers.

In an interview with the Dubai-based Arabic language daily 'Emarat Al Youm', Hassan said the GCHRAGD is planning an international campaign to promote the law.

“Those who are opposed to the law on the grounds that it may curb personal liberties in the country are either sympathisers with the extremists or have no idea about the tools of radicalism and its dangers.

"Currently, there is no country in the world immune to terrorism and extremism,” he said.

“Everyone must realise that the UAE, unlike other countries in the region, have to worry about the significant achievements it has made, including that it has become a tolerant society which believes in cultural and ethnic diversify and the respect and acceptance of each other.

"This law was issued to safeguard these accomplishments.

"This means that it will be a major tool in protecting human rights rather than curbing liberties.”

Haneef said GCHRAGD, a non-government non-profitable organization that works in cooperation with the United Nations to promote and protect human rights through global dialogue, intends to launch a campaign worldwide to “promote and market” the new UAE law to push for an international legislation criminalising hatred and discrimination on the basis of religion, sect, culture and race.

“We want to have an international legislation that will protect religions, holy sites and other religious figures,” he said.

“What is happening in the region and other areas show that there are continuous endeavors to destroy the concept of state and spread chaos and anarchy.

"This is a very serious threat which the UAE has recognised.

"Hence it took pre-emptive steps to confront these threats and protect its entity and accomplishments.”

Haneef said that the new UAE law provides protection to all and criminalises any activity and behavior that are deemed hostile and insulting to others.

“Those who use a religious site or possess a publication must realize that they are responsible for what they say or behave.

"Offenders will be punished according to this law, which was issued out of the UAE’s belief that no society is immune to terrorism and that no matter how tolerant and developed we are, there is no guarantee that we are immune to these threats as terror has no country and no boundaries.”

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