Divorce will be hot topic at FNC meeting

A state minister will face questions on Tuesday in the Federal National Council over the increasing divorce rate among Emiratis.

FNC member Ali Al Nuaimi says the rise in the number of divorces affects family bonds and the issue needs to be studied if a solution is to be reached. Fatima Al Marzooqi / The National
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ABU DHABI // A state minister will face questions on Tuesday in the Federal National Council over the increasing divorce rate among Emiratis.

Official statistics show an increase in the number of divorces last year compared with 2012.

Mariam Al Roumi, Minister of Social Affairs, will appear before the council on Tuesday to answer questions about the increase.

Ali Al Nuaimi (Ajman) wants to know what steps the ministry has taken to address the issue.

“I wanted to ask ... particularly about the programme launched by the ministry to strengthen family cohesion and reduce divorce rates,” he said.

“The increase affects family bonds. This is something that needs to be studied and needs a solution.”

Increasing divorce rates have long been debated in the UAE. Between 2009 and 2011, the number of divorce cases in Dubai increased by 40 per cent for expatriate couples and 7 per cent for Emirati couples.

In 2012, Dubai court issued more than 1,100 divorce certificates, a 26 per cent increase from 2011.

Council members will also discuss with the minister the policies governing the cooperative societies.

A study by an FNC ad hoc committee examined the 1976 law on co-ops and the role of the ministry in supervising and inspecting their work, including prices and their accounts.

The study also looked into how the ministry was spreading awareness and encouraging co-op work.

Mr Al Nuaimi, who headed the committee that conducted the study, said their recommendations would be directed at ensuring co-ops offered affordable prices to low-income people.

While it has not yet been revealed which ministers will attend the session, the council’s agenda lists questions to four others, covering sports, health and social issues.

Mosabeh Al Ketbi (Sharjah) will question the Minister of Environment and Water, Dr Rashid bin Fahad, on an unknown camel disease. He said on average about 10 camels a day had died since April.

“There are two types of camels. Ones that are for racing and the others that are bred,” he said. “The ministry previously said this was not a pandemic, but it is. In Dhiad, Sharjah, a number of camels have died. The minister has sent out vets who confirmed it was not related to the Ebola virus. But then what is it?”

He said the issue was affecting Emiratis in the country who might spend up to Dh1 million on a camel that sometimes died within a few days.

Mr Al Ketbi will also question him over Emirati farmers’ losses in the north – an issue previously raised in the council.

“Today, the whole world cares about local produce,” he said. “It is the opposite in the UAE. Farmers have left the profession because of lack of support.”

Dr Sheikha Al Ari (UAQ) will question Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak, Minister of Culture, Youth and Society Development, over establishing female-only sports clubs in the Northern Emirates.

She said the lack of such clubs has been criticised by the public.

Hamad Al Rahoomi (Dubai) will quiz Dr Abdullah Al Nuaimi, Minister of Public Works and chairman of the national transport authority, on terms to register boats and cruise ships in the country following a debate last week, when the member complained to the Minister of Environment that the rise in the number of registered boats had negative effects, particularly on marine life.

Finally, Ahmed Al Amash (RAK) will question Dr Maitha Al Shamsi, Minister of State and head of the marriage fund, on the “fund’s plans to follow the country’s social policies”.

The public session will be held at the FNC headquarters in Abu Dhabi.