A few days ago, the UAE amended a set of laws, especially those related to personal status, to bring it in line with the country’s plural approach to culture and human rights.
It allowed unmarried couples to share housing, as long as they are adults. The laws of the individual’s country of origin can also be applied in cases of divorce and inheritance, and not impose Islamic law on them when it comes to family issues.
In the event of the collapse of marital life, the assets are divided and the rules are applied according to their country of origin, if the marriage took place abroad. The changes have also extended to issues of guardianship and inheritance, as the nationality of a person will determine how his heritage is divided among his relatives, unless he has written a will; with the exception of real estate purchased in the UAE.
The state abolished laws that criminalized suicide and attempted suicide, so there is no prosecution, as long as psychological and health support is provided. The amendments stipulated that any person who commits an act with good intention and ends up harming those who tried to provide him with assistance, such as causing injury to him upon his rescue shall not be punished.
The most important thing is to stop the mitigating excuses for the perpetrators of ‘honor crimes’, as they will be treated as murderers, with stricter penalties imposed for acts of harassment. The laws on alcohol consumption have changed and are becoming less stringent, especially for those over the age of twenty.
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Despite the indifference that these fundamental amendments have received in our countries, as they are an internal affair, they were welcomed by international organizations concerned with human rights, because they are in the interest of women in general, and protect individual freedoms and personal behavior that is not harmful to others, and thus it was not surprising, some of those who are backward attacked them especially those whose reputation had previously been tainted for abusing women and exploitation women for their benefit, because these laws prevent this abuse, and this is not consistent with their despicable desires.
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These amendments constitute a legal revolution against strictness and inhumanity in many of our laws, and they represent a beautiful harmony with international laws. Who are we to poke our noses in the affairs of others, and reject the principle of non-cohabitation, for people are free in their behavior as long as it does not cause harm to others.
As for the pretext that it does not comply with our customs and traditions, it has no meaning. Many things have changed that were once forbidden, and these amendments are no exception, and it is time to consider individual freedoms as sacred rights, and therefore it is not permissible to punish others under the pretext of preserving honor, or flogging and imprisoning people because they committed an act we do not accept, how many innocent women and girls have paid the price of foolish fanaticism, while the perpetrator escapes punishment.
Most of those who oppose these laws are well aware that keeping things as they are is in their interest, as they do what they want, and often get away with punishment, while the weak, those who have no children in the legal profession are punished,
The UAE’s move is a model example worthy to be followed.
By Ahmad alsarraf