Raise the UAE flag with dignity or risk fines and jail time, say officials

The country’s federal penal code lists fines and jail sentences as potential punishments for those who abuse the UAE flag.

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - November 06, 2013: An United Arab Emirates flag is raised during the Flag Day ceremony at the Crown Prince Court of Abu Dhabi, commemorating the accession of HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan President of the UAE and Ruler of Abu Dhabi (NOT SHOWN). 
( Sharina Lootah / Crown Prince Court - Abu Dhabi )
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Citizens and expatriates are encouraged to take part in Flag Day celebrations on Thursday but should be warned to handle the country’s banner with care.

The Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology has been campaigning ahead of festivities to ensure people are made aware of the specifications and characteristics of the UAE flag through videos on social media.

“We aim through this campaign to preserve the official standard of the flag; just like we have standards for everything else, it is a priority to have a standard for our beloved flag,” said Khalaf Khalaf, Director of Standards Department at Esma.

The standard was raised by Esma four years ago, under the code 1971 to symbolize the union.

Some of the conditions of owning and displaying a flag include that the owner check the flag’s condition every 45 days to ensure it is not damaged.

The flag should be rectangular in shape, it’s height half of its width and the colours in correct order.


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National Editorial: Flag Day is a time to celebrate and reflect


A flag on display should also be changed every six months, according to Esma.

Mr Khalaf said a common mistake is people hanging the flag with the red column on the right instead of the left, and hanging the flag upside with the black strap on top.

“We want people to raise the flag, but it should be done in the right way,” he said.

Approved main measurements should be used and the flags should be made from materials that can withstand the country’s hot climate.

These rules particularly apply to situations where the flag is hung permanently at government buildings or embassies. As for short term use during celebrations, the flag should be made of nylon, and its weight should be at least 122.5 grams per spare meter.

The country’s federal penal code lists fines and jail sentences as potential punishments for those who abuse the UAE flag.

According to Article 176, “anyone who publicly insults the President, flag or the national emblem of the State, shall be punished by detention.”

Similarly, Article 3 of federal law No 2 for 1971 says whoever uses the flag inappropriately will face a jail sentence up to six months, and / or a fine; “as the country’s flag should be treated with dignity and respect, and should not be insulted, and not raised below any other flag or banner.”.

“The flag should remain high and billowing,” said Ali Al Dhaheri, head of the Judicial Inspection Department at ADJD.

“And it is a common norm that the country’s flag should not be placed in a demeaning or offensive manner.”

Therefore, cases of people offending the flag are seldom heard in courts, he said.

“Because respecting the flag is a basic principle,” he said.