UAE | Crime

Anti-child porn laws on the way in the UAE

At present, UAE law does not distinguish between the possessing, downloading or distributing of adult pornography, as opposed to child pornography.

  • By Rayeesa Absal, Staff Reporter
  • Published: 00:00 July 25, 2010
  • Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Being in possession of child pornography must be declared as an offence in its own right — separate to being in possession of adult pornography, legal experts have advised.

The change in the law would better protect the rights of children, they said.

At present, UAE law does not distinguish between the possessing, downloading or distributing of adult pornography, as opposed to child pornography.

However, this is likely to change thanks to the work of the Interior Ministry's child protection committee, recently set up by the government.

The committee — comprised of law enforcement officers, legal and IT experts — is in the process of drawing up new legislation that meets international standards and best practices.

Violation of rights

Rapporteur and committee coordinator Major Faisal Al Shammari told Gulf News that: "Watching child porn is equivalent to victimising the children and is in itself a grave violation of their rights. It cannot be treated the same as adult porn, which is why we need new legislation".

Major Al Shammari said those convicted of possessing or promoting child pornography should be sentenced to at least two years in jail. The government also hoped to set up a sex offenders' register by the end of this year.

Legal Advisor Adam Jackson, who is on the committee, called for child pornography punishments to be stronger than those for adult pornography.

"New legislation must make possession of child pornography a distinct offence outside the possession of adult pornography," he said.

Child pornography and child abuse must be made a felony, allowing courts to impose longer custodial sentences [than those for adult pornography offences], he added.

Once the committee prepared the new legislation's final draft, it would be published for public consultation, and later made into law, he said.

Watching child porn had a decivilising effect on people, Major Al Shammari said. Watching such videos on the internet and making copies would also be punishable under the laws. Websites were already being monitored, he said.

Do you think that there is a need for harsher punishments for crimes against children? What else can be done to protect children's rights?

Comments (2)

  1. Added 12:59 July 25, 2010

    Good decision. There should be a very severe punishment and those convicted should be kicked out of this land. Authorities should make effective monitoring system.

    Azim, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

  2. Added 09:42 July 25, 2010

    Adults who do such acts should be punished severly. This is order from God even. We should destroy such ills from society by giving them examplary punishments. We should set moral standards at family levels which enable children in the long run to hate such practices.

    Riffat, Fujairah, United Arab Emirates

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