Most Read Contributor in United Arab Emirates, March 2017
Sadly a great number of children are abandoned in the United
Arab Emirates each year. Most likely this is as a result of young
mothers being fearful of the repercussions of bearing a child
outside wedlock. It is a criminal offence in the United Arab
Emirates to have a sexual relationship outside marriage. In
practice without clear evidence of the offence, no criminal
sanctions are implemented. However the birth of a child to
unmarried parents is clear evidence. 6 newborn babies were found
abandoned in the UAE in 2011 alone. The publicity of these
abandoned children has led to the issue of adoption being discussed
frequently in the local press.
The laws of the UAE prohibit adoption within the UAE by
non-Emirati couples. This means that only Emirati citizens holding
UAE passports may adopt abandoned children from the UAE. Expatriate
couples residing in the UAE must look abroad to adopt children,
typically to Ethiopia or Mexico. The adoption process for
expatriates can still be conducted from the United Arab Emirates,
regardless of the nationality of the parents.
Abandoned children that have been born in the UAE obtain can
obtain UAE citizenship and a UAE passport. This is set out at
Article 2(e) of the Federal Law 10 of 1975, which amends the
Federal law 17 of 1972. The law states that a child will be deemed
abandoned in the UAE unless proved otherwise.
Under Sharia law, it is encouraged for parents to care for a
child that is not their biological child, and nurture that child as
if he was their own. However it is prohibited for those parents to
give the child their own surname. The Federal laws of the UAE
(based on Sharia laws) circumvent this issue by allowing the
adoptive parents to nominate the child's first name, whereas
the Court would order the child's surname. In practice the
children being adopted within the UAE are always abandoned,
therefore their true identity at the time of adoption is not known.
It is therefore possible for the Court to nominate the child's
new surname, making it the same as the adoptive father's.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
In accordance with Article 149, 'the custodian may not take the child for travel outside the state without the written consent of the guardian. If the guardian does not approve, the matter shall be referred to the judge.'
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).