The Department of Community Development has given the public a very strict warning regarding the matter of unlicensed fundraising and donations. The citizens have been asked to not pay for catering services or any restaurants for the purpose of Iftar meals. The culprits found might be imprisoned and charged with fines not less than 150,000 AED and not more than 300,000 AED. According to Federal Law No. (3) of 2021 and its bylaw, which stipulates the regulations regarding any fundraising and donations in the UAE, it is considered offensive to pay restaurants to prepare any Iftar meals in the name of charitable purposes.
Individuals who are willing to contribute to charitable causes can do so through in-kind or cash donations to fundraising conducted by licensed entities or regulated donation boxes. The Department of Community Development once again reminded the public about establishing, organizing, or performing any act aimed at collecting funds, or any materials for donations in the emirate of Abu Dhabi is not permitted without the consent of DCD.
The only exception is for the Fundraising Entities which are charities, and federal, local, and civil institutions which are allowed to engage in charitable activities like collecting, receiving, and making donations. These licensed authorities have the necessary experience and the capability to carry out such tasks.
The department underlined that outsourcing and paying restaurants to prepare Iftar meals is a violation
Donations are stipulated according to the Federal decree of Law no. (3). It is illegal in the UAE to raise funds and seek donations without a proper license. Charitable associations, federal and local authorities, and non-profit associations may raise funds only after being authorized by the Ministry of Community Development.
It has only been a few days since the UAE Public Prosecution announced through social media posts that fundraising and seeking donations that are not conducted through licensed entities are strictly punished with both imprisonment and or fine. The fines were charged with the least amount being 250,00 AED and the maximum being 1 million AED.
Along with the fines, a person or team found guilty can be imprisoned for up to 5 years in prison. The court will also order to pay back the funds to the respective sources. Even the people managing websites, and other IT or electronic means to promote the collection of donations without consent from the authorities can be fined or jailed. Licensed entities do not have the power to publish, broadcast, or promote any materials or advertisements for fundraising without the permission of designated authorities, as per Article 46 of Federal decree law No. 34 of 2021 on combating rumors or cyber crimes.
The DCD emphasized on the importance of establishing and nurturing a culture of giving in rhythm with the legal frameworks and legislation. This measure is taken in order to aid with the regulation of donations and by protecting the donor’s fund and making sure they arrive at the right beneficiaries.
Any other kind gestures like the tradition of preparing, buying, and distributing Iftar meals to families in the neighborhood, sharing the meals with people passing by, or placing water in mosques are not considered as breaking the law as long as they do not gather money or ask for donations in disguise for illegal purpose.
The Department of Community Development was established in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi in 2018 with its target set on regulating and monitoring the social sector through the development of strategies and policies to ensure the raising of quality of life and provide them with a decent living. The DCD is comprised of 4 entities, namely the Abu Dhabi Social Support Authority, The Authority of Social Contribution (Ma’an), the Abu Dhabi Sheltering and Humanitarian Care Center(EWAA), and the Family Care Authority.
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The Department of Community Development also collaborates with 6 other partners in the community development division in Abu Dhabi. They are the Zayed Higher Organization for People of Determination, Zayed House for Islamic Culture, Abu Dhabi Sports Council, Family Development Foundation, Social Care and Minors Affairs Foundation, Abu Dhabi Housing Authority, and Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority.
The United Arab Emirates is a land famous for its brotherhood and hospitality. And especially during this season of Ramadan when the Muslim population spends the majority of their time praying, and in service. This is an occasion where the people empathize with the less fortunate and provide them with a bit of relief. Be it in the kinds of food, clothes, money, etc.
However, trying to use this cordiality of the citizens as a facade and utilizing the generosity of the people for selfish or illegal purposes is not ethical. And such acts are intolerable and strictly punished by the government. All these legalities help the citizens and encourage them to live better lives.