UAE Anti-discrimination Law 'will thwart attempt to sow seeds of division in country'
The United Arab Emirates has issued a new law against any form of discrimination on the basis of religion, caste, creed, doctrine, race, colour or ethnic origin following a decree by the President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
The new law, No. 02 of 2015, criminalises any act that stokes religious hatred and/or which insults religion through any form of expression, be it speech or written word, books, pamphlets or via online media.
Ali Mohammed Al Balushi, Attorney-General of Abu Dhabi, on Monday stressed that the new law will thwart any attempt to sow seeds of division in the country's cohesive and diverse society.
In a statement, Al Balushi noted 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.
Al Balushi noted that these punishments are in line with the spirit of Islamic culture embraced by the county's society that 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.
Al Balushi also noted that strict action will be taken against any form of expressions of hatred or incitement to hate crimes, spread in the form of speech and published media, to protect society from any attempt to damage its security.
Islamic European Council hails UAE law against hate crimes and discrimination
The Islamic European Council has commended the Law issued by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan against any form of discrimination on the basis of religion, caste, creed, doctrine, race, colour or ethnic origin.
The Islamic European Council called on the governments of Islamic countries, members of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and member states of the United Nations to follow the United Arab Emirates in order to activate Resolution No. 65/224 on Combating Defamation of Religions, issued by the 65th session of UN General Assembly.
In a press statement, Dr. Mohammed Al Bashari, Secretary-General of the Islamic European Council, said that under the rapid regional and international changes that threaten global peace, it has become necessary to pass a law criminalising the defamation of religions in all the Islamic countries.
‘Implementation of law civilised step’
The UAE's move to implement the anti-discrimination and hatred law is an advanced civilised step to protect the rights and dignity of citizens and residents on its territory, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Emirates Human Rights Association (EHRA), Mohammed Salem Al Kaabi, said.
He added that these laws will punish those who incite hatred and preach destructive and intolerant ideas in the community, citing that destructive ideas wrought havoc in some countries.
"I think the existence of such laws is an urgent need for all countries, especially amid many messages of concern that incite racial hatred on social networking sites," he said.
He underlined that citizens and residents live in peaceful co-existence in the UAE, which hosts more than 200 nationalities, noting that the UAE was ranked top globally in peaceful co-existence among different nationalities in accordance with the annual report of 2014 issued by the International Organisation for Peace, Care and Relief of the United Nations.
Geneva Centre for Human Rights chief commends law
Dr. Hanif Al Qasim, Chairman of the Geneva Centre for Human Rights Advancement and Global Dialogue (GCHRAGD), commended the decree criminalising all forms of discrimination, hate and religious contempt acts.
"These values are the pillars of our national identity, which the State cherishes to pass on from one generation to another," Al Qasim said.
Amal Al Qubaisi welcomes law
Dr. Amal Al Qubaisi, First Deputy Speaker of the Federal National Council (FNC), Member of the Executive Authority of Government of Abu Dhabi, and also Director-General of Abu Dhabi Education Council, also hailed the decree.
She added that religious tolerance is one of the core values endorsed by the UAE since its inception, citing that it hosts hundreds of nationalities who live in peace, stability and in an environment of mutual respect.
Al Qubaisi noted that the UAE always stresses at all forums the directives of its leadership to combat discrimination and hate rhetoric.
Emirates Writers Union hails law
Emirates Writers Union has praised the decree and said in a statement that it aims to consolidate the principles of freedom, tolerance and acceptance of others and respect for the views, ideas, beliefs, values of others, as adopted by the UAE since its inception.
The UAE guarantees, protects and defends these principles by the force of law.
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