Sheikh Khalifa issues Abu Dhabi law on cultural heritage

The President, Sheikh Khalifa, has issued a law on cultural heritage in Abu Dhabi, in his capacity as Ruler of the emirate.

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ABU DHABI // A law on cultural heritage in Abu Dhabi has been passed by the President, Sheikh Khalifa, in his capacity as Ruler of the emirate.

The law is aimed at protecting, identifying, preserving, managing and promoting Abu Dhabi’s cultural heritage, the General Secretariat of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council said on Wednesday.

The law sets provisions for ownership and acquisition of physical cultural artefacts and regulations for transferring, exporting, loaning or moving them out of the emirate.

It also defines measures to be taken with archaeological discoveries, and the time frame for reporting the findings to authorities.

The law also governs the mandate of the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, and authorises it to establish two records – one for tangible cultural heritage and one for intangible cultural heritage.

Intangible cultural heritage will be incorporated into school curricula.

The law prohibits certain acts without obtaining the TCA’s permission, including the transfer of ownership for physical cultural heritage, carrying out activities related to infrastructure in cultural sites or nearby areas, and conducting industrial, commercial, agricultural, scientific or investment activities in these areas.

Archaeological excavation is deemed an act exclusive to the TCA, which can grant a licence for excavation work under its supervision. Archaeologists’ discoveries will be owned by Abu Dhabi emirate.

Crimes associated with heritage could incur a maximum penalty of two years in jail or a fine ranging from Dh500,000 to Dh10 million.