Laws

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm al-Quwain, Ras al-Khaimah, Fujairah

Limited information only available for these topics

Access to Children
Adoption of Children
Age of Consent
Anti-Vilification
Artifical Insemination
Assisted Reproduction
Asylum / Refugees
Civil Unions
  Custody of Children
Discrimination
Fostering Children
Superannuation
Gender Identity
Harassment
Hate Crimes
  HIV/Aids
Homosexuality
Immigration
Inheritance
In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF)
Marriage
Military
  Parenting
Partners
Property
Sodomy
Superannuation
Transgender, Transsexual
Violence
Wrongful Death

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Asylum, Immigration, Refugees Legislation/Cases/References
1.

National

In April 1998, officials in the UAE said they had deported 5,759 foreigners since 1985 for being HIV positive. The bulk of the nation's foreign residents come from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Iran, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and the UK [R1.1].

R1.1 Capital Q: HIV Positive Deported 09 APR 98
Discrimination Legislation/Cases/References
1.

National

On 23 July 2015, it was reported that a new law made it unlawful to discriminate on the basis of religion, caste, creed, doctrine, race, color or ethnicity but does not include discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity [R1.1].

R1.1 GayStarNews: United Arab Emirates introduces discriminatory non-discrimination law 23 JUL 15
Gender Identity, Intersex,
Transgender, Transexual

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Legislation/Cases/References
1.

National

On 08 September 2016, it was reported that the government had passed Federal Decree No 4, a series of changes to reduce doctors' criminal liability. Under the new law, doctors can perform sex reassignment surgery as long as the patient shows they are suffering from gender dysphoria. The law also requires the patient undergoing surgery to receive mental health care to 'psychologically prepare' patients for the transition [R1.1].

R1.1 GayStarNews: Sex reassignment surgery is now legal in the United Arab Emirates 08 SEP 16
Hate Speech Legislation/Cases/References
1.

National

On 23 July 2015, it was reported that a new law made hate speech or the promotion of discrimination or violence unlawful. It is doubtful that this would include sexual orientation or gender identity [R1.1].

R1.1 GayStarNews: United Arab Emirates introduces discriminatory non-discrimination law 23 JUL 15
HIV Aids Legislation/Cases/References
1.

National

In April 1998, officials in the UAE said they had deported 5,759 foreigners since 1985 for being HIV positive. The bulk of the nation's foreign residents come from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Iran, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and the UK [R1.1].

R1.1 Capital Q: HIV Positive Deported 09 APR 98

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Homosexuality, Sodomy Legislation/Cases/References
1.

National

All sexual acts outside of heterosexual marriage are banned in the United Arab Emirates. However, whether sodomy is punished with death penalty remains in dispute.

The Arabic text of article 354 is ambiguously phrased and can be translated in different ways. Some sources indicate that the article punishes rape of a woman or forced sodomy with a man, while others indicate that it punishes rape on women and sodomy between men.

The semi-official translation used by attorneys in the Emirates states that "any individual who forcibly compels a woman to carnal copulation or a man to sodomy" is punished by death.

In a German parliamentary report the article has been translated as follows: "Irrespective of the provisions of the Act on Delinquent and Vagrant Juveniles, any person who forcibly engages in sexual intercourse with a woman, or a homosexual act with a homosexual, shall be punished with the death penalty. Coercion shall be recognised if the condemned person was fourteen years of age at the time of the commission of the offence."

Schmitt, Arno and Sofer, Jehoeda, (1992, Sexuality and Eroticism Among Males in Moslem Societies. Binghamton: Harrington Park Press, p. 144.), on the other hand, suggest that the article can be translated differently; "Whoever commits rape on a female or sodomy with a male".

Amnesty International, finally, considers article 354 to apply to rape only, and not to consensual same-sex acts. However, the organization states that the "Zina" provision according to Sharia law, punishing sexual acts by married persons outside of marriage by death, could possible apply in the UAE, although it is not aware of any such death sentences for consensual same-sex conduct.

Apart from federal law, consensual sodomy is criminalised in the emirates of Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Article 80 of the Dubai Penal Code punishes sodomy with a penalty of up to 14 years imprisonment, while article 177 of the Abu Dhabi Penal Code punishes such acts with a penalty of up to ten years imprisonment. [R1.3].

Homosexuality is illegal in the Muslim UAE and neighbouring Gulf countries, where offenders could face flogging along with imprisonment, while foreigners could also face expulsion [R1.2].


In July 2008, police in the Gulf tourist hub of Dubai said they'd detained 17 foreigners for allegedly displaying homosexual behavior in malls and other public places [R1.1].

2.

Courts & Tribunals

On 25 March 2014, the Federal Supreme Court reportedly upheld the guilty finding and six-month jail term imposed by the First Instance Court in Ajman in the case against two Muslim men charged with having intentionally committed acts of sodomy, which was proven by forensic evidence. The Ajman Court of Appeal upheld the original verdict, as did the Court of Cassation. Both men will be deported after serving their sentence [R2.3].

On 31 March 2013, presiding judge Mohammad Jamal jailed 22-year-old A.S. and 30-year-old A.H. for three years each for posing as male prostitutes over a social media network, WhosHere, and offering their dancing and sexual services for or Dh1,500 per night. A.S. and A.H. were detained in a sting operation in a five star hotel room [R2.2].

In September 2008, A lesbian couple vacationing in Dubai were sentenced to one month imprisonment and face subsequent deportation for "indecent acts in public" [R2.1].

R1.3 ILGA: State Sponsored Homophobia PDF 380.51kb, 13 MAY 11
R1.2 PinkNews.co.uk: UAE Jails 12 Men for Homosexuality
R1.1 The Advocate: Dubai Detains 17 Accused of Homosexual Behavior 18 JUL 08
R2.3 TheNational: UAE court upholds six-month jail term for homosexual men 25 MAR 14
R2.2 GulfNews: Two men jailed for prostitution in UAE 31 MAR 13
R2.1 The Advocate: Dubai Detains Lesbian Couple for "Indecent Acts"" 06-08 SEP 08
Marriage Legislation/Cases/References
1.

Courts & Tribunals

In February 2006, a United Arab Emirates court jailed 12 men who were arrested after being discovered preparing for a gay wedding, but acquitted another 14 defendants. They were sentenced to five years in prison for homosexuality and one year for obscenity" [R1.1].

R1.1 PinkNews.co.uk: UAE Jails 12 Men for Homosexuality 13 FEB 06
Violence: Bullying, Domestic Violence, Harassment, Victimisation, Vilification Legislation/Cases/References
1.

National

On 23 July 2015, it was reported that a new law made hate speech or the promotion of discrimination or violence unlawful. It is doubtful that this would include sexual orientation or gender identity [R1.1].

R1.1 GayStarNews: United Arab Emirates introduces discriminatory non-discrimination law 23 JUL 15

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