A growing number of tourists and visitors in the UAE continue to flout legal and moral codes of conduct on a regular basis, according to 999 Magazine, the official English monthly of the UAE’s Ministry of Interior.
This commonly used legal principle, Ignorantia juris non excusat (ignorance of the law is no defence) is an internationally followed legal principle holding that a person who is unaware of a law may not escape liability for violating that law merely because he or she was unaware of its content.
The magazine lists the top 10 most common blunders that are, knowingly or unknowingly, committed by tourists and visitors, and suggests a guide to how not to fall foul of local laws.
The top five (5) blunders are:
2) Taking pictures of strangers
3) Sunbathing in very skimpy clothing
4) Wear disrespectful clothing
5) Public display of affection
Lt Colonel Awadh Saleh Al Kindi, Editor-in-Chief of 999, said: “The fact that the UAE has taken a global lead by establishing the Law Respect Culture Bureau as a department of the General Secretariat of the Office of HH Deputy Prime Minister & Minister of Interior, with the aim to promote legal awareness and instil a law-respecting culture among community members of all ages and categories.”
The bureau fulfils its objectives by creating a social culture among community members on the need to respect both the written laws (legislation) and unwritten laws (values and morals).
Lieutenant Colonel Dr. Salah Obeid Al Ghoul, Director of Law Respect Culture Bureau, said that ignorance of the law is one of the most common causes of legal violations, thus necessitating the need for the establishment of the Bureau in order to deliver the legal message in a simplified and understandable way to a broader spectrum of society.
Dr. Jamal Hussein Al Sumaiti, Director-General of Dubai Judicial Institute, explained the fine line between an individual’s right to freedom of expression, and his or her duty to ensure others’ respect. He explained this by giving an example: “It is my right to criticise the behaviour of a general person or an institution, but I have no right to swear or defame.”
He added: “There is a difference between an objective and positive criticism and swearing. Swearing may be a form of expression, but the law does not protect the utterance of insults or curses and defamation or assaulting individuals or other institutions.”
Al Kindi said: “There is no valid reason for tourists and visitors to not find out more about their destination country’s customs and laws before or even after arriving here. There are enough learning resources – and our cover story will make for a very good starting point for anyone considering visiting the UAE for work or play.”
He advised visitors on the need to remain respectful of others’ rights and freedoms at all times. “The culture and laws in the UAE are designed in a way to safeguard personal freedom on the one hand and to ensure that everyone is respectful of each other regardless of their faith and nationality, on the other. Visitors and residents should avoid improper conduct or inappropriate behaviour that can otherwise lead to fines, imprisonment and deportation,” he said.
A complete list of the top 10 blunders that UAE tourists and visitors commit has been published in the December edition of 999 Magazine, a part of the Strategic Plan of the Ministry of the Interior to provide media coverage for the activities and efforts of the Ministry and Abu Dhabi Police. It also aims to encourage the public to contribute to the reduction of crime and enhancement of safety in the UAE.
Monday, December 9- 2013 @ 9:22 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.