Adoption in the UAE: Mr. Hassan Elhais .pdf
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Adoption in the UAE: Mr. Hassan Elhais
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-Emirate couples. This
means that only Emirate 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.
About Author: Mr. Hassan Elhais is one of the renown Family lawyers in Dubai.
Advocate Hassan Elhais has been practicing as a Professional Legal Consultant and
property lawyer since 2005 in Dubai, UAE.