Sexual harassment in UAE is a serious issue that affects many people and despite the country’s strict laws and regulations against this type of behavior, it is still a widespread problem that needs to be addressed.
The definition of sexual harassment in UAE Penal Code is comprehensive and covers a wide range of behaviors, including physical and verbal harassment. The UAE has a number of laws and regulations in place to protect individuals from sexual harassment and to ensure that perpetrators are held accountable for their actions. It is important for individuals to understand what constitutes sexual harassment in UAE and to know their rights and how to report incidents of sexual harassment.
What is considered as Sexual Harassment in UAE?
Sexual harassment is defined as per the UAE Penal Code as any unwanted physical contact of a sexual nature, including touching, kissing, fondling, or grabbing, as well as making sexual comments, gestures, or advances. It also includes spreading rumors about a person’s sexual conduct or history, and showing others pornographic material. The definition of sexual harassment may vary between different laws and jurisdictions, but in general, it is considered a form of gender-based violence and is taken very seriously by the UAE government.
The purpose of these actions is to induce the victim to respond to the sexual desires of the perpetrator or someone else. It is important to note that sexual harassment in UAE can take many forms, including physical contact, verbal insults, or suggestive comments. It can also involve gestures, looks, or any other type of behavior that creates a hostile or offensive environment.
What is the difference between Sexual Harassment and sexual assault as per UAE law?
As per the UAE law, sexual harassment and sexual assault are two distinct offenses, which are governed by different legal provisions and carry different penalties. The key difference between the two lies in their nature and the severity of the crime committed.
Sexual harassment refers to any unwanted or unwarranted behavior that is sexual in nature and causes discomfort, embarrassment, or offense to the victim. This can include verbal or physical actions, gestures, or written messages that are sexual in nature, as well as touching or rubbing against someone, making obscene comments or suggestions, and exposing oneself. In the UAE, sexual harassment is illegal under Federal Law No. (3) of 2016 on Combating Cybercrimes. The law punishes individuals who engage in sexual harassment with imprisonment, a fine, or both.
Sexual assault, on the other hand, refers to a more severe form of sexual misconduct that involves physical force or the threat of force. This can include acts such as rape, molestation, and sexual battery. The UAE’s Penal Code defines sexual assault as any act that involves physical contact with a person’s body in a sexual manner against their will. This includes penetration, molestation, or any other act that causes physical or mental harm to the victim. The punishment for sexual assault is severe, ranging from imprisonment to death, depending on the circumstances of the case.
In conclusion, the key difference between sexual harassment and sexual assault in the UAE is the nature of the crime committed, with sexual harassment being a less severe form of sexual misconduct and sexual assault being a more serious and violent offense. Both crimes are taken seriously by the UAE government and are punished severely under the law.
What actions should be taken if sexual harassment is witnessed in the UAE?
Sexual harassment is a serious issue and it is important to take immediate action if you witness it happening in the UAE. The following are some steps you can take to address the situation:
- Speak up: If you witness sexual harassment, the first step is to speak up and intervene. This could mean telling the person who is being harassed that it is not okay, or stepping in to stop the harassment from continuing.
- Report the incident: If the harassment continues, or if you feel that speaking up is not enough, it is important to report the incident. This can be done by informing the human resources department of the company, or by contacting the authorities.
- Seek help: If you have been a victim of sexual harassment, it is important to seek help. This could mean seeking support from friends or family, or seeking professional help from a therapist.
- Gather evidence: If you decide to report the incident, it is important to gather evidence. This could include photos, videos, or written statements from witnesses.
- File a complaint: If you have gathered enough evidence, you can file a complaint with the appropriate authorities. The UAE has strict laws against sexual harassment and perpetrators can face severe consequences.
It is important to note that reporting sexual harassment can be a difficult and emotional process, but it is important to take action to protect yourself and others from harm. If you are unsure about how to handle a situation, it is always best to seek professional legal help and guidance.
What is the Punishment For Sexual Harassment in UAE?
The UAE Penal Code takes a strong stance against sexual harassment in UAE and has outlined strict penalties for those who engage in this type of behavior. Under Article 413 of the Penal Code, a person who commits a sexual harassment crime in the UAE can be punished with a jail sentence of at least one year and a fine of AED 10,000. This penalty can be increased to a jail sentence of at least two years and a fine of AED 50,000 in certain situations.
For example, if the act of sexual harassment in UAE is committed by multiple perpetrators, the penalty is increased. Additionally, if the perpetrator is carrying a weapon at the time of the offense, the punishment is also heightened. The Penal Code also recognizes that children under the age of 18 are particularly vulnerable to sexual harassment and has accordingly imposed harsher penalties for crimes committed against minors.
Similarly, if the perpetrator is someone who has a close relationship with the victim, such as an ascendant or unmarriageable kin, the penalties for sexual harassment are also increased. This is because the victim may feel more vulnerable and powerless to resist or report the harassment. In addition, those who have a responsibility to care for or protect the victim, such as servants or caregivers, are also subject to stricter penalties if they engage in sexual harassment.
The definition of sexual harassment in UAE is comprehensive and encompasses a wide range of behaviors. It is important to note that the definition applies to both men and women and covers all forms of sexual harassment, including verbal and physical harassment.
Rights of Men and Women under Sexual Harassment Laws in UAE?
With the recent amendment to the penal code in the UAE, men are now considered as potential victims of sexual harassment. The federal law has added a sexual harassment charge, broadening the definition of harassment, and increasing the penalties for offenders. The earlier law, which only covered acts of public sexual harassment towards women, has been expanded to include repetitive harassment through actions, words, or signs that coax the recipient into satisfying the offender’s or another’s sexual desires. The previous punishment for breaching the modesty of a woman, which included a prison sentence of up to one year, a fine of no more than Dh10,000, or both, has now become the minimum punishment for those convicted of sexual harassment.
Previously, the Penal Code’s Article 359 under the Crimes Perpetrated Against Honour chapter only recognized women as potential victims of sexual harassment. However, with the amendment, men can now report sexual harassment from either gender. The amendment also expands the scope of harassment, now including all forms of harassment, regardless of location, whereas the former law only recognized public harassment. If the harassment is committed by a group, with a weapon, or by someone with authority over the victim, the penalty has been increased to a minimum of two years in prison and/or a fine of Dh50,000 or more.
How to Report Sexual Harassments at Workplace in UAE?
Sexual harassment at the workplace is a serious issue and must be addressed promptly. In the United Arab Emirates, there are specific steps that can be taken to report such incidents.
- Report the Incident to the HR Department: If you are experiencing sexual harassment at work, it is important to report the incident to the human resources department immediately. They will guide you through the process and provide you with the necessary support and protection.
- File a Complaint with the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation: If the HR department fails to address the issue or if you feel uncomfortable reporting the incident to them, you can file a complaint with the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation. They will investigate the matter and take appropriate action.
- Contact the UAE Labour Law: If the HR department and the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation are unable to address the issue, you can contact the UAE Labour Law. They will provide you with legal guidance and representation in the case of a lawsuit.
- Gather Evidence: It is important to gather as much evidence as possible to support your claim. This can include emails, text messages, or any other documentation that shows the harassment.
- Seek Legal Advice: If the case is severe, it is recommended to seek legal advice from a specialist in UAE labour laws.
Reporting sexual harassment in the workplace in the UAE requires taking specific steps, such as reporting the incident to the HR department, filing a complaint with the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation, and seeking legal advice if necessary. By taking these steps, victims of sexual harassment can receive the support and protection they need to address the issue.
What if You are Falsely Accused of Sexual Harassment in the UAE?
It is important to note that false reporting of sexual harassment in UAE is considered a criminal offense. This means that individuals who falsely report sexual harassment in UAE can face severe legal consequences under the UAE Penal Code.
Articles 324 and 325 of the UAE Penal Code outline the penalties for false reporting. Article 324 states that anyone who reports false accidents or crimes to judicial or administrative authorities can face a jail sentence of up to six months and a fine. Similarly, Article 325 states that anyone who knowingly makes a false report to the authorities with the intention of harming someone else can also face a jail sentence and a fine.
In addition, if the false report leads to a conviction for a felony crime, the false accuser may face the same penalty as the convicted individual.
It is crucial to understand that in order for false reporting to be proven, it must be shown that the complaint was made to a judicial or administrative authority, that the complaint was false, and that the accuser knew it was false and intended to harm the victim.
If you have been falsely accused of sexual harassment, it is important to take legal action immediately. You should file a complaint with the police who will then conduct an investigation and gather evidence from both the complainant and the accused. It is important to have legal representation during this process to ensure your rights are protected.
In an ideal scenario, the person who falsely accused someone of sexual harassment in the UAE would confess to making false accusations in bad faith when faced with the charges. Unfortunately, this is not the norm. Most perpetrators in these cases deny the charges, making it necessary to rely on secondhand evidence. This can come in the form of statements from other people or witnesses who can corroborate the fact that the accusations were indeed false. Even if these witnesses have faced accusations in the past, their statements can still be taken into consideration when it comes to criminal charges for making false complaints.
Sexual harassment can have a profound and lasting impact on the victim. It can cause feelings of fear, anxiety, and shame, as well as physical and emotional distress. In some cases, it can even lead to depression, sleep disorders, and other health problems.
It is crucial for individuals to understand what constitutes sexual harassment and to be able to recognize when they are being subjected to this type of behavior. In addition, it is important for individuals to know their rights and how to report incidents of sexual harassment.
The UAE has a number of laws and regulations in place to protect individuals from sexual harassment and to ensure that perpetrators are held accountable for their actions. For example, there are laws that prohibit employers from engaging in sexual harassment and require them to take steps to prevent it from occurring in the workplace.
In addition, the UAE has a number of hotlines and resources available to individuals who have been subjected to sexual harassment. These resources provide confidential support and guidance, and help individuals to report incidents of sexual harassment to the appropriate authorities.
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