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The Dubai skyline. The chief prosecutor at Family and Juvenile Prosecution in Dubai said the Child Rights Law, known as the ‘Wadeema’ law, is a comprehensive measure to ensure protection of children’s rights. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News Archives

Dubai: Counsellor Shehab Ahmad Saleh, the Chief Prosecutor at Family and Juvenile Prosecution in Dubai, has urged parents to pay attention to advertisements that appear on social media while children browse them, as they may contain inappropriate content.

Saleh said the Child Rights Law, known as the ‘Wadeema’ law, was a comprehensive measure to ensure protection of children’s rights, apart from dealing with issues of neglect surrounding children and what parents ought to do to prevent children from being harmed.

While sharing details of certain cases dealt with under the ‘Wadeema’ law, Saleh said: “The law stresses the right of the child to be protected from all forms of harm, whether physical or psychological — or even indirect exposure to harm. For instance, on one occasion, a father had shaved his child’s head in such a manner that it triggered ridicule at the child from his friends and peers. He was also subjected to bullying. The incident was referred to public prosecution and we sat with the father and tried to solve the problem.”

Saleh added that the law guaranteed a child the freedom to express his or her opinion, in accordance with legal limits and morals, and guaranteed him or her basic rights — the first of which is the right to obtain a name, that does not cause him or her any harm or ridicule, and to be issued identification documents to establish his or her identity. Saleh mentioned the plight of a 30-year-old man who did not have any identification papers on him. A case was registered on his behalf and his rights were secured.

He explained that law prohibits children under the age of 15 to be employed in any kind of work because they lack in awareness and the ability to distinguish between what is safe and valid for his or her age.

He pointed out that there are cases of people who employed their children at a tender age, including the case of a person who submitted a request for his son to be allowed to clean buildings. Given the hazardous nature of the job, the request was rejected.

Saleh said that the law also ensures that an appropriate environment is provided to a child in order to allow him or her to express his or her opinion freely and help him or her access necessary health-care facilities — right from the time a child is conceived.

He further explained that in order to ensure protection of children’s rights, the law prohibits the sale of any tobacco products to anyone below the age of 18, and also prohibits the sale and supply of nutritional supplements to underaged children that may harm their health.

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Saleh warned against exposing children to any sexual content, stressing that the law is very strict against anyone who exposes children to any kind of content or material that is not age-appropriate.

He pointed out that prosecution had often noticed minors were being allowed to enter theatres screening films meant for adults. He cautioned parents, saying that they cannot afford to be negligent in these matters.