UAE´s shocking (and seemingly confused) application of their new charity laws, leaves residents wondering if they are even allowed to talk about charities that exist outside of the UAE.
British National Scott Richards, from Primrose Hill in London, was arrested for suspected violations of the UAE´s charity restrictions. Although on inspection, he did not raise funds for any charity and volunteered for charities while outside of the UAE. Technically, he should not have been arrested under these laws, but it seems, law enforcers need further training.
In light of this matter and the publicity it has so far received, residents are fearful that they could be arrested, just for speaking about international charities. Because that is all that Scott did, he spoke about a charity and for that, he has spent the past three weeks, jailed in appalling conditions. The British Embassy is involved, but can do little more than check on his physical welfare.
Humanitarian crises around the world are beyond the ability of governments and international bodies to deal with alone. Private charitable organisations play an integral role in providing relief in crisis zones, and must have the freedom to promote their programs and raise funds without fear of imprisonment.
Historically, the UAE and other Gulf nations have been extremely generous in supporting charities, it is shocking and disappointing to see that the UAE has taken such an antagonistic position. The people of the Gulf are tremendously giving, but Scott's detention is going to make charitable organisations hesitate to promote their causes in the UAE, this will close vital channels for relief work, and impede the ability of the Emirati people to help those in need.
We hope that the UAE releases Scott, realising that this ordeal has been a mistake. We have, along with friends and family, launched a Facebook campaign group for Scott Richards. Supporters will be targeting government & media to intervene in this most unjust situation.
Unfortunately, this story is all too common in the UAE and we are striving to improve the service that we can offer to residents and tourists in the UAE. We therefore intend to launch a membership program within the coming months, that will equip subscribers with essential information prior to traveling to the UAE to prepare them for any potential problems they may encounter, and to provide them with immediate legal support if any problems arise.
Initial Press Release can be found here: