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Constitution of the United Arab Emirates

Constitution of the United Arab Emirates

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The Constitution of the United Arab Emirates provides a legal and political framework for the operation of the United Arab Emirates
United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates, abbreviated as the UAE, or shortened to "the Emirates", is a state situated in the southeast of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia on the Persian Gulf, bordering Oman, and Saudi Arabia, and sharing sea borders with Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and Iran.The UAE is a...

 (UAE) as a federation of seven emirates
Emirates of the United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates is composed of 7 emirates :-References:...

. The Constitution came into effect on December 2, 1971 and was permanently accepted in May 1996. Authored by Adi Bitar
Adi Bitar
Adi Nasib Al Bitar was a judge, a legal advisor and lawyer who worked all over the Middle East. He was the author of the constitution of the United Arab Emirates.- Early years :...

, a former judge and legal advisor, the Constitution is written in 10 parts and has 151 Articles. The United Arab Emirates celebrates the formation of the Union (and acceptance of the federal constitution) as National Day.

History


Historically independent kingdoms, the modern emirates that constitute the United Arab Emirates and the modern kingdoms of Qatar
Qatar
Qatar , also known as the State of Qatar or locally Dawlat Qaṭar, is a sovereign Arab state, located in the Middle East, occupying the small Qatar Peninsula on the northeasterly coast of the much larger Arabian Peninsula. Its sole land border is with Saudi Arabia to the south, with the rest of its...

 and Bahrain
Bahrain
' , officially the Kingdom of Bahrain , is a small island state near the western shores of the Persian Gulf. It is ruled by the Al Khalifa royal family. The population in 2010 stood at 1,214,705, including 235,108 non-nationals. Formerly an emirate, Bahrain was declared a kingdom in 2002.Bahrain is...

 entered into a treaty
Treaty
A treaty is an express agreement under international law entered into by actors in international law, namely sovereign states and international organizations. A treaty may also be known as an agreement, protocol, covenant, convention or exchange of letters, among other terms...

 with the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 in 1853 and agreed to a "perpetual maritime truce" with the UK; the kingdoms were collectively referred to as the Trucial States or as Trucial Oman. Disputes between the states were often arbitrated by the United Kingdom. In the late 1960s, the Trucial States Council was formed by the emirates, Qatar and Bahrain. The United Kingdom in 1968 announced its decision to end the treaty relationships with the kingdoms. The nine kingdoms attempted to form a union of Arab Emirates, but were unable to agree upon the terms of the union. While Bahrain and Qatar became independent countries, the other seven emirates attempted to form a temporary, federal union in 1971.

In 1971, the Constitution, authored by Judge Adi Bitar
Adi Bitar
Adi Nasib Al Bitar was a judge, a legal advisor and lawyer who worked all over the Middle East. He was the author of the constitution of the United Arab Emirates.- Early years :...

, was established as a temporary legal and political framework. Article 9 of the Constitution states that the Capital shall be a new town on the border of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, to be completed within seven years and to be called "Al Karama
Al Karama, United Arab Emirates
Al Karama , a proposed planned city to be built on the border of the emirates of Abu Dhabi and Dubai, was specified as the permanent capital of the United Arab Emirates by the Constitution of 1971...

"; however, a provision in the same article provided for Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi (emirate)
Abu Dhabi, officially the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, , is one of seven emirates that constitute the United Arab Emirates . It is the capital of UAE and is the largest emirate by area , and second-largest by population , accounting for approximately 86% of the total land area of the UAE...

 to be the "temporary" capital of the Union and for Sheikh
Sheikh
Not to be confused with sikhSheikh — also spelled Sheik or Shaikh, or transliterated as Shaykh — is an honorific in the Arabic language that literally means "elder" and carries the meaning "leader and/or governor"...

 Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, ruler of Abu Dhabi, to be the President of the United Arab Emirates
President of the United Arab Emirates
The President is the Head of State of the United Arab Emirates. Because the current ruler of Abu Dhabi customarily also holds the presidency of the UAE, the office is de facto hereditary. The President is also Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces and Chairman of the Supreme Council and...

.

In 1979, a draft "permanent" constitution was prepared which allowed for the creation of a unified military
Military of the United Arab Emirates
The Union Defence Force is the armed forces of the United Arab Emirates and has primary responsibility for the defense of all seven emirates. It consists of 65,000 personnel, and is headquartered in Abu Dhabi.-History:...

 and judicial system. Initially, the emirate of Dubai
Dubai
Dubai is a city and emirate in the United Arab Emirates . The emirate is located south of the Persian Gulf on the Arabian Peninsula and has the largest population with the second-largest land territory by area of all the emirates, after Abu Dhabi...

 was strongly opposed to the unification of the military forces and, along with Ras al Khaimah, refused to attend Supreme Council meetings of the union. Mediations by Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

 and Kuwait
Kuwait
The State of Kuwait is a sovereign Arab state situated in the north-east of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south at Khafji, and Iraq to the north at Basra. It lies on the north-western shore of the Persian Gulf. The name Kuwait is derived from the...

 as well as by other UAE rulers reduced differences between Shiekh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum
Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum
HH The Emir Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum was the Vice-President and Prime Minister of United Arab Emirates and Emir of Dubai...

, ruler of Dubai and Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, ruler of Abu Dhabi.

In 1994, Abu Dhabi was made the permanent capital of the UAE, and in May 1996, six years after Rashid bin Saeed al Maktoum's death, Dubai agreed to a permanent constitution, and one that would unify the armed forces of the UAE. However, Dubai, like Ras al Khaimah, maintains its own judicial courts, which are not subject to governance from the Supreme Court of the UAE.

Preamble


The preamble
Preamble
A preamble is an introductory and expressionary statement in a document that explains the document's purpose and underlying philosophy. When applied to the opening paragraphs of a statute, it may recite historical facts pertinent to the subject of the statute...

 of the constitution declares the intent of the rulers of six emirates (Ras al Khaimah joined the Union on February 10, 1972) to form a "comprehensive, democratic
Democracy
Democracy is generally defined as a form of government in which all adult citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. Ideally, this includes equal participation in the proposal, development and passage of legislation into law...

 regime" in an "Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

ic, Arab society".

Parts of the Constitution


Some of the important Articles and Parts of the Constitution are listed below :

Part one
    1. Article 2 — Abu Dhabi is the capital of the Union
    2. Article 4 — Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan is the President of the United Arab Emirates
      President of the United Arab Emirates
      The President is the Head of State of the United Arab Emirates. Because the current ruler of Abu Dhabi customarily also holds the presidency of the UAE, the office is de facto hereditary. The President is also Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces and Chairman of the Supreme Council and...

    3. Article 10 — aim of the Union is the maintenance of its independence and sovereignty
      Sovereignty
      Sovereignty is the quality of having supreme, independent authority over a geographic area, such as a territory. It can be found in a power to rule and make law that rests on a political fact for which no purely legal explanation can be provided...

    4. Article 11 — the Union forms a single economic and customs entity; free movement of all capital and goods between emirates is guaranteed; all inter-emirate taxes, duties and tolls
      Tariff
      A tariff may be either tax on imports or exports , or a list or schedule of prices for such things as rail service, bus routes, and electrical usage ....

       are abolished
    5. Article 12 — Foreign policy
      Foreign policy
      A country's foreign policy, also called the foreign relations policy, consists of self-interest strategies chosen by the state to safeguard its national interests and to achieve its goals within international relations milieu. The approaches are strategically employed to interact with other countries...

       will be to support Arab
      Arab
      Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

       and Islam
      Islam
      Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

      ic causes and consolidation of friendship and co-operation with all nations on the basis of the charter of the United Nations
      United Nations
      The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...



Part Two: Fundamental Social and Economic Basis of the Union
    1. Article 14 — Equality, social justice, ensuring safety and security and equality of opportunity for all citizens
    2. Article 15 — The family is the basis of society. It is founded on morality, religion, ethics and patriotism. The law shall guarantee its existence, safeguard and protect it from corruption
    3. Article 17 — Compulsory education at the primary
      Primary education
      A primary school is an institution in which children receive the first stage of compulsory education known as primary or elementary education. Primary school is the preferred term in the United Kingdom and many Commonwealth Nations, and in most publications of the United Nations Educational,...

       level
    4. Article 21 — Private property
      Private property
      Private property is the right of persons and firms to obtain, own, control, employ, dispose of, and bequeath land, capital, and other forms of property. Private property is distinguishable from public property, which refers to assets owned by a state, community or government rather than by...

       will be protected
    5. Article 22 — The protection of public property
      Public property
      Public property is property, which is dedicated to the use of the public. It is a subset of state property. The term may be used either to describe the use to which the property is put, or to describe the character of its ownership...

       is the duty of every citizen


Part Three: Freedom, Rights and Public Duties
    1. Article 25 — All persons are equal before the law, without distinction between citizens of the Union in regard to race, nationality, religious belief or social status.
    2. Personal liberty is guaranteed; no person may be arrested, searched, detained or imprisoned except in accordance with the provisions of law
    3. Article 28 — penalty is personal; an accused shall be innocent until proven guilty
    4. Article 29 — freedom of movement is guaranteed, within limits of the law
    5. Article 30 — freedom of expression is guaranteed, within limits of the law
    6. Article 32 — freedom to exercise religious worship is guaranteed in accordance with established customs and provided it does not conflict with public policy or violate public morals
    7. Article 33 — freedom of assembly is guaranteed, within limits of the law


Part Four: Union Authorities
    1. Article 45 — establishes the Supreme Council of the Union (SCN), the Council of Ministers, the National Assembly and the Judiciary of the Union
    2. Article 49 — veto
      Veto
      A veto, Latin for "I forbid", is the power of an officer of the state to unilaterally stop an official action, especially enactment of a piece of legislation...

       rights in the Supreme Council for Abu Dhabi
      Abu Dhabi (emirate)
      Abu Dhabi, officially the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, , is one of seven emirates that constitute the United Arab Emirates . It is the capital of UAE and is the largest emirate by area , and second-largest by population , accounting for approximately 86% of the total land area of the UAE...

       and Dubai
      Dubai
      Dubai is a city and emirate in the United Arab Emirates . The emirate is located south of the Persian Gulf on the Arabian Peninsula and has the largest population with the second-largest land territory by area of all the emirates, after Abu Dhabi...

    3. National Assembly composition: 8 seats each of Abu Dhabi and Dubai, 6 each for Sharjah and Ras al Khaimah, and 4 each for Ajman
      Ajman
      Ajman , also spelt Ujman, is one of the seven emirates constituting the United Arab Emirates . With an area of just 260 square kilometres , Ajman is the smallest emirate by area...

      , Umm al Quwain and Fujairah
      Fujairah
      Fujairah is one of the seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates, and the only one on the Gulf of Oman in the country's east instead of Persian Gulf .-History:...

    4. Article 108 — The President is required to confirm all death sentence
      Death Sentence
      Death Sentence is a short story by the American science-fiction writer Isaac Asimov. It was first published in the November 1943 issue of Astounding Science Fiction and reprinted in the 1972 collection The Early Asimov.-Plot summary:...

      s imposed by a Union judicial authority


Part Five: Union Legislation and Decrees and the Authorities having Jurisdiction therein

Part Six: The Emirates
    1. Article 123 — the emirates may retain their individual memberships to OPEC
      OPEC
      OPEC is an intergovernmental organization of twelve developing countries made up of Algeria, Angola, Ecuador, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela. OPEC has maintained its headquarters in Vienna since 1965, and hosts regular meetings...



Part Seven

Part Eight: Financial Affairs of the Union

Part Nine: Armed Forces and Security Forces
    1. Article 137 — Any attack on one emirate is an attack on all emirates and upon the existence of the Union
    2. Article 138 — establishment of a unified air force
      Air force
      An air force, also known in some countries as an air army, is in the broadest sense, the national military organization that primarily conducts aerial warfare. More specifically, it is the branch of a nation's armed services that is responsible for aerial warfare as distinct from an army, navy or...

      , navy
      Navy
      A navy is the branch of a nation's armed forces principally designated for naval and amphibious warfare; namely, lake- or ocean-borne combat operations and related functions...

       and land army


Part Ten: Final and Transitional Provisions
    1. Article 145 — Constitution cannot be suspended except when martial law
      Martial law
      Martial law is the imposition of military rule by military authorities over designated regions on an emergency basis— only temporary—when the civilian government or civilian authorities fail to function effectively , when there are extensive riots and protests, or when the disobedience of the law...

      is in effect