Human Rights Violations and Complaints in UAE

The UAE is committed to the protection of Human Rights in the country and around the world. UAE’s foreign policy is based on the principles of justice, equality, and human rights. The government is working consistently to support the implementation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights principles. With the aim and determination to make positive changes in the region, the government strives to work constructively in achieving the highest standards expected by the United Nations.

The UAE government is committed to continuously improving its laws and practices that match the international human rights standards. The country has always upheld its cultural heritage and religious values, which have justice, equality, and tolerance at its core.

Since 1971 (the founding year), the UAE has been focused on building a multicultural society where all the nationalities live harmoniously together. The country invests heavily in education and healthcare reforms.

The UAE’s constitution emphasizes on following terms related to human rights.

  • The freedom and rights of all citizens
  • Prohibits torture
  • Arbitrary arrest and detention
  • Protects civil liberties
  • Freedom of speech and press
  • Supports peaceful assembly and association
  • Practice of religious beliefs

Following were the steps taken by the UAE government to ensure the prevention and right punishment for human rights violations in the country.

International Human Rights Treaties

The UAE has been party to several international treaties related to Human rights since its formation. Some of the main treaties are:

  • International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD) (1974)
  • Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) (1997)
  • Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) (2004)
  • Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) (2010)
  • Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) (2012)
  • The Four Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their Two Additional Protocols of 1977
  • Nine ILO Conventions, including on the subjects of working hours, forced labour, labour inspections, night work for women, equal pay, the minimum age for employment, and the worst forms of child labour.

The information of other treaties entered by the UAE can be found on the United Nations Human Rights Website.

Protecting the Rights of Children

In UAE, even the unborn child has rights. Protecting children has always been countries topmost priority. The authorities are committed to providing a safe and enriching environment for the proper development of children. To ensure the child’s (nationals and expats) best interest, government has passed several laws and rules to protect the future generation of the UAE.

The Federal Law no. 3 of 2016, The Child Rights Law, is renamed Wadeema Law after an unfortunate murder of a child named Wadeema by her father and his girlfriend. The 12-page document reflects the sincerity and commitment to protecting the children in all manner. The legislation highlights the children have the right to:

  • Appropriate living standard
  • Access to health services
  • Education
  • Equal opportunities
  • No discrimination
  • Protection against negligence, exploitation, and physical abuse

Apart from these, several initiatives are taken by authorities to provide overall protection to children and make the services accessible to them. Some of the initiatives taken by the government are child digital safety guidelines, banning corporal punishment, anti-bullying guidelines, hotlines, and different phone channels for reporting the problems.

Promoting the Rights of Person with Disabilities

People with special needs are referred to as People with Determination in the UAE. There are several policies in place for the empowerment and effective inclusion of people with disabilities and special needs. Adhering to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), the people with determination are integral to all important government initiatives and planning like UAE Vision 2021 and Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030.

Federal Law No. 29 of 2006, Concerning the Rights of People with Special Needs, guarantees them the right to live with dignity, education, and equal and fair opportunities in the labour market.

Promoting Women’s Rights

Since its inception, women’s empowerment has been fundamental for the development of UAE as a progressive and modern society. UAE emphasizes women’s participation in every aspect of the law’s economic, civic, and political life. However, the rights and privileges provided to women in the UAE may differ from other developed nations. The UAE follows Islamic law, and the principles of Sharia guide all its rules. The Sharia-based personal status law dictates the rules related to marriage, divorce, and child custody. The non-Muslim expat women in UAE enjoy the freedom to marry a person of choice without seeking permission from male guardians.

The UAE women enjoy the same constitutional rights as men, such as voting, driving, owning property, working, and getting an education. In the UAE, women make up approximately 40% of the general workforce. All the listed companies in the UAE must appoint one female director.

Protecting Labour Rights

UAE is built by the efforts of thousands of expats, who tirelessly worked for the government’s vision. The income, benefits, and job qualities in the UAE attract several expats every year to come and seek employment opportunities.

Federal Law No. 8 of 1980, the Labour Law governs the right of labour in the private sector. The law applies to all without any discrimination to the nationality of the employee. The effective Wages Protection System safeguards employees’ salaries and maintains standards of wages.  The UAE has adopted several decrees, measures, and resolutions to increase worker protections and clarify the existing law.

Protection for Domestic Workers

UAE domestic labour law provides a wide range of benefits and protection to domestic workers. The law also covers a range of jobs under the domestic labour definition. Jobs like a housemaid, family chauffeur, parking valet workers, private teacher, private PRO, cook, etc., are all considered domestic labour.

The hiring process, contracts, rights, and privileges are covered in detail under the law. The domestic helpers in the UAE are entitled to several benefits such as:

  • payment of wages, as mentioned in the contract, within 10 days they are due,
  • 1 day paid rest per week,
  • 12 hours of rest in a day, of which 8 hours consecutive rest,
  • a round trip ticket home every 2 years,
  • 30 days medical leave per year,
  • a decent accommodation,
  • cases filed by the workers are exempted of court fees, etc.

Employers are prohibited from appointing anyone below 18 years. The case of abuse, physical, verbal or sexual, may invite stringent punishments.

Combating Human Trafficking

The UAE government prohibits all kinds of trafficking through Federal Law no. 51. The law prescribes penalties for trafficking ranging from a one-year jail term to life imprisonment. The law was amended based on the guidelines by United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish traffickers.

The officials have launched a robust awareness campaign to reach a substantial number of vulnerable populations. The victims are provided with shelter, rehabilitation, and other assistance.

How to report discrimination in the UAE?

According to UAE Law, discrimination is a crime and punishable by law. You can file your complaint via an online channel to the UAE police or file a lawsuit with the help of an experienced lawyer. For any kind of human rights violation that you want to report, you may contact Community Development Authority (CDA) on the toll-free number 8002121 or email

Private sector employees can report to the authorities by registering their complaints on the MoHRE website.


All individuals, irrespective of race, religion, or social position, are equal before the law. The UAE constitution outlines the freedom and right of all citizens. It also prohibits any kind of discrimination, unlawful arrests, and torture. If you or anyone you know is experiencing a human rights violation, immediately report it to authorities. If in case the whole situation is overwhelming to you, we suggest you let us legally assist you. Our accomplished lawyers can help you and guide you to the right course of legal resolutions.

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