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What missiles? DFAT Dubai warning eyes ‘X’ travellers

June 19, 2018 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Britain’s Foreign Office just warned travellers to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), including Dubai and Abu Dhabi, about the threat of missile attacks – but Australia’s official advice on UAE is more concerned with travellers who are neither male nor female.

“In 2018, numerous missiles have been launched into Saudi Arabia from Yemen,” the UK Foreign Office says in a newly issued warning.

“The vast majority of these have been intercepted and destroyed but there have been a small number of casualties. Claims have been made in public media suggesting that there may also be attempts to target missiles at the UAE. In the event of any incidents, you should monitor local media reports and follow the advice of the local authorities.”

The warning is significant, because the UAE, a federal absolute monarchy sovereign state on the Persian Gulf, is home to both Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Dubai is in turn home and hub to Emirates Airline, one of the world’s largest carriers and a commercial partner of Qantas. Abu Dhabi (capital of the UAE) is home to Etihad.

The UAE (together with Saudi Arabia) is currently locked in a simmering dispute with neighbouring Qatar, which unsurprisingly happens to be the home of Qatar Airways.

The UK Foreign Office advises: “The UAE authorities announced on 7 June 2017 that showing sympathy for Qatar on social media or by any other means of communication is an offence. Offenders could be imprisoned and subject to a substantial fine.”

DFAT also makes mention of that on its Smartraveller.gov.au site: “It’s an offence to show sympathy or bias towards Qatar, or to object to the UAE Government’s current policy in relation to Qatar. This includes social media, or any other written or verbal communication. Offenders can be imprisoned and subject to large fines.”

DFAT makes no mention of any missile threat in connection with the UAE. It does, however, give some advice to travellers who are neither male nor female and whose passports thus show X where most people’s passports show M or F.

The UAE, perhaps quaintly, prefers its visitors to be either male or female – in fact it insists on that.

“If you are travelling on an Australian passport showing ‘X’ (indeterminate/intersex/unspecified) in the sex field you will not be permitted to enter the UAE,” DFAT warns.

“You can only enter UAE if you carry a passport bearing the sex specified as ‘F’ (female) or ‘M’ (male).”

That shouldn’t affect most travellers, though incoming ballistic missiles just might.

DFAT adds some extra advice, which must be heeded carefully by any UAE-bound traveller who might occasionally use recreational drugs in Australia. Be careful what you pack. Your life might be at stake.

“The UAE has a zero tolerance policy on the trafficking and possession of illegal drugs,” DFAT says.

“Penalties include the death penalty [firing squad] or life imprisonment, even for small amounts. Some medications available over the counter or by prescription in Australia are illegal in the UAE.”

Written by Peter Needham

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