UAE legal Q&As: Can I protect my child from prying photographers?

People are snap-happy with a fair-skinned 2-year-old and at what age can an Emirati claim their passport from their father are the questions tackled by Yousef Al Bahar this week.

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q My wife and daughter have joined me in Abu Dhabi and last week we toured around. While out we were constantly approached for permission to photograph my daughter, who is two years old and fair. My wife and I regard this as an invasion of our child’s privacy. It got to a point where I had to stop people taking photos of her. What law protects her from this and what I can do if the problem persists?

a This is considered an illegal act according to Article 378 from Penal Code No 3 for 1987 and its amendments. If you asked the people taking photos of your daughter to stop and they did not, you have the right to visit a police station or call for a patrol to be sent. Police will assess the situation and possibly refer the person to prosecutors and then court to face charges of violating a person’s privacy by taking their picture against their will. The accused could face jail or a fine or both.

I’m an Emirati. My parents are divorced and my mother has custody over me. As I will soon be 18 I wonder, at what age do I have the right to file a case asking for my father to give me my passport, as he refuses to do so if I ask him. Do I need to be married and /or at least 21 to be eligible to ask for my passport or can I file a case asking for it when I am 18?

The father is the legal custodian of the child, according to Article 157 of the Federal Personal Status law, even if the child is in the custody of the mother on the orders of a court of law. Therefore, the passport of the child is legally in the possession of the father until, according to Article 172 of the law, you are 21 years old. You have no right to file a case against your father to obtain your passport at 18. However, if the passport is needed for urgent matters, the father is obliged to provide you with it and, after finishing that urgent matter, you must return it.

Yousef Al Bahar is an advocate at Al Bahar and Associates Advocates and Legal Consultants.

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