Sunday, 15 March 2009

The Dubai Code of Conduct

A new Code of Conduct for citizens, residents and vistors to Dubai has been issued by the Executive Committee under the guidance of Sheikh Hamdan (Sheikh Mohammed's son). This is not a definitive summary, just a few high (and low) lights:

1. Social Ethics. 1.4 - Displays of public affection among couples - whether married or not - in public places does not fit the local customs and culture. Holding hands for a married couple is tolerated but kissing and petting are considered an offence to public decency. Public displays of affection, as well as sexual harassment or randomly addressing women in public places is liable to be punishable by imprisonment or deportation. There are also new clothing rules and a person can be refused entry to a government building if their clothing is considered immodest.

1.5 - Dancing is forbidden in public places.

2. Substance Abuse. 2.2 - Alcohol consumption shall be confined to designated areas (i.e. licensed restaurants and venues that serve alcohol to their clients). Being caught under the effect of alcohol outside these places (even in light doses) can lead to a fine or incarceration. This would seem to rule out having a quiet drink with friends at your house. Also rules out drinking in a restaurant unless you're planning to stay the night there.

2.6 Some medicines containing psychotropic substances are forbidden in the UAE. Visitors shall verify that their medicines are allowed in the UAE before entering the country. The banned drugs include Xanax, Zolfot, Roaccutane, Actifed cough syrup and hormonal compounds that could assist women with the symptoms of menopause.

3. Driving Safely. 3.4 - The use of a mobile phone whilst driving is illegal. Phones must be turned off before starting the car or unless a hands-free kit or headset is available.

I think everyone who drives in Dubai will cheer for this one: 3.2 - Driving fast behind other cars and flashing headlights at them as well as jumping from lane to lane and overtaking are dangerous practices that can lead to fines.

3.9 - Motorbike drivers shall wear their helmet.....This I've got to see. There aren't enough bike helmets in all of Dubai for everyone to have one each!

4. Mutual Respect. 4.4 - Spreading false news, statements or rumors and malicious propaganda that disturb public security and harm public interest are serious crimes punishable by law. Just today the head of Dubai's immigration department announced in the press that there have been NO mass visa cancellations in Dubai, NO cars have been left at the airport by fleeing expats and NO expat has been refused exit from Dubai because of supposed unpaid debts. Under the new laws anyone who says different will be liable to "punishment by law".

5. Environment 5.3 Camping in the desert is only allowed with a license from the competent authorities. A big change! Can you imagine the process that will be required to get a camping licence??

6. Respect for religion When the call to prayer is heard, music shall be turned off in all public places and cars. This is a change to the practice in the big malls in Dubai where, currently, the call to prayer is played over the PA, there's a brief break and then the shops continue playing their own music.


  1. And who is going to police these new rules, especially the clothes? Who's going to tell the visitors to leave the malls and not come back until they're decently dressed?

  2. This is a reasonable decision ... I read the complete version of 'The Dubai Code of Conduct' and I believe that it was well written with balanced views.

  3. I always marvel at the phrase, "local traditions etc." Doesn't the majority have a say?

  4. The majority are mere expatriates, they don't usually have a say !

  5. The majority will rule with their feet...right out of this crumbling country...opps that can get me arrested for staying that right??

  6. Locals will have the last laugh whether you like it or not.. its my country .. its my rules.. wana have sex on the beach? and walk around with a beer bottle in your hand? be my guest .. an emirates airlines seat is waiting for you to take you back where you came from..

    You love my country when there is a well paid job for u.. once u loose that.. u hate it! ..aha.. so your loyalty is for money while my loyalty is to the land of this country.. to its people.. to its tradition.. whether its prospering or crumbling.. i will keep loving it!

    A proud Dubaian.

  7. Their country, their rules. Just because we have the freedoms we enjoy, live by and pride ourselves on in America...doesn't mean the rest of the world is or has to be so gracious. The rules they have put forth merely reflect their vision of decency based on their faith. Most of these rules would be acceptable to all moral people and one should certainly be able to live within these rules for their visit to Dubai...a beautiful and exotic country I might add. If not, simply don't visit. That way, they'll be happy you're not spreading your hedonistic lifestyle to their beaches and society and you'll be happy you can visit California or New England yourselves and enjoy your full blown debauchery in peace with all the other low-lifes and perverts. Win-win for all!

  8. I think its all ok but your not aloud to kiss? I mean thats a bit to far don't you think? You should be alowed to kiss your parents, wife, girlfriend/boyfriend etc not having sex but a kiss on the lips should be alowed!