UAE | Government

Students told to be mindful of Emirati tradition and law

British embassy in campaign to raise awareness

  • By Alice Johnson, Staff Reporter
  • Published: 00:00 May 25, 2011
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: Megan Hirons Mahon/Gulf News
  • Students and parents attend the lecture at GEMS World Academy in Al Barsha.
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Dubai: Dubai isn't Britain with sunshine, and shouldn't be treated as such, students were reminded at a presentation by the British Embassy on Tuesday.

While the emirate may have once been a sleepy fishing village and now showcases superstars like Tom Cruise scaling the world's tallest tower, "Emirati values, religion and tradition haven't changed," Mandy Smith, Vice-Consul of the Embassy's Assistance Team told GEMS World Academy students.

"If you're arrested and the police stop you, don't argue with them. Don't argue with the police if you're stopped," Smith emphasised, "ring your mother or your father".

The presentation was part of an ongoing campaign to educate students and parents of the laws, rules and regulations of the UAE, which the consular team regularly presents. Topics included solvent abuse, the regulation of alcohol, driving, drugs, smoking and sex outside marriage.

While Smith told Gulf News that there is not a rising number of students arrested in the UAE, she confirmed that since the Consular section has been more proactive, schools have been giving positive feedback.

According to the latest Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) "British Behaviour Abroad" report, Britons are most likely to be arrested firstly in Thailand and secondly in the UAE. The Emirates is also third-highest in terms of drug-related arrests.

"Ideally, we'd have 100 per cent of people insuring themselves and 0 per cent of Brits getting into trouble," Robert Tinline, Acting Director for Consular, told media at a roundtable discussion yesterday.

"The headline trend we're seeing, are more Brits getting travel insurance, more Brits doing a bit of research before they go [abroad], more Brits looking at foreign office travel advice before they go," he said.

Jail visit

Tinline is visiting the UAE for the inaugural meeting of the UK-UAE Consular Committee, which was established during the State visit of Queen Elizabeth II to the UAE last November.

Topics of the meeting up for discussion today include "how we can manage the situation and how to handle Brits getting into trouble in the best possible way," Tinline said. He will also be meeting local authorities and Britons to assess the situation, including a visit to Al Aweer Central Jail.

Helen Mills, Consul in Dubai, confirmed that there are currently 35 Britons detained in the Central Jail.

It's estimated that 100,000 Britons live in the UAE and approximately 20,000 of these reside in Abu Dhabi. A total of one million transit through the Emirates every year. The 2010-2011 behaviour abroad report is due out in June.

Comments (3)

Are you aware of the cultural sensitivities in the UAE? Do you think there is enough information available on this issue? Share your views by posting a comment or send them to us at readers@gulfnews.com
  1. Added 16:13 May 25, 2011

    Very good step from britons

    Akmal, dubai, United Arab Emirates

  2. Added 14:05 May 25, 2011

    It is very important for expatriates to know what to do and how to get help if you are accused of something that you did not do. Again arguing with the police will only get you into more trouble.

    Ben, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  3. Added 12:34 May 25, 2011

    This is really good move by the British Embassy/Consulate. I wish and hope that other Embassies and consulates take such steps to educate their respective nationals as in many cases I believe that Ignorance would be the reason for some one to be caught. But the fact is Ignorance is not an excuse in front of the Law.

    Mahesh, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

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