Abu Dhabi: A Pakistani woman who landed in court for running an illegal babysitting service from her apartment in the capital was fined Dh40,000, Fatima Al Badwawi, director of human rights office section at the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department, said.

Speaking at a forum on “Tolerance at the Judicial Departments of Abu Dhabi”, she said the woman was running an unlicensed nursery where neighbours would leave their children as they couldn’t afford the fees of authorised nurseries.

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Fatima Al Badwawi, Director of Human Rights Office Section at ADJD, and Mohammad Al Jafry, Director of Non-Muslim Wills Registration Office, at the Tolerance forum in Abu Dhabi Image Credit: Anwar Ahmad/Gulf News

Complaint

But a family that had dropped off their little girl at the apartment allegedly found blood stains in her undergarments, following which they suspected abuse and lodged a complaint with the Public Prosecution.

However, the charges of abuse were dropped after a medical examination was conducted on the girl.

Al Badwawi said, “People who cannot afford a nursery, drop off their kids at neighbours’ homes for a small amount. We had a number of similar cases last year where residents would leave their kids at the mercy of neighbours which is illegal and risky too. We received 69 cases last year, of out which 57 were resolved. We pursue only sensitive cases pertaining to human rights.”

She urged people to visit the office located inside the court, where officers listen to cases, cross-check facts and extend help accordingly.

In the case of the Pakistani woman, Dh30,000 of the Dh40,000 fine was raised with the help of Emirates Red Crescent, while she paid the remaining Dh10,000, Al Badwawi said.

In a video message at the forum, the Pakistani woman thanked the human rights office, court and the UAE authorities for giving her a second chance.

Criminal cases

More than 87,000 criminal cases were received by the Public Prosecution last year,  of which 10 per cent were reserved [no public judgement] by the court for the welfare of the society or reconciled while three per cent were discontinued.

Counsellor Hassan Al Hammadi, director of prosecution affairs department at the ADJD, said, “At the court we aim to resolve cases amicably.”

“In 2018, out of 87,053 cases, 9,168 cases were reconciled or amicably settled or reserved by the court for the welfare of the society. Similarly in 2017, we reconciled 10,049 cases. The court focuses on resolving cases through mutual understanding,” Al Hammadi said.

Joseph Faragalla, chairman of Board of Evangelical Churches in Abu Dhabi, said, “The UAE is an epitome of peaceful living in the Arab world and people of all nationalities and religions reside here and freely practise their religions. Real tolerance can be seen here in the UAE.”

WHAT RESIDENTS HAVE TO SAY

Dropping children at a neighbour’s house when you are working is not a good idea because you never know what may happen in your absence. I agree babysitting services cost up to Dh4,000 a month and are unaffordable for many. But there has to be a way out. I always keep my baby with my trusted maid or relatives.

- Fatima Naziha, Sri Lankan

I always recommend that we enlist the services of an authorised babysitting centre or nursery because nothing is more precious than our children. Neighbours can’t do anything in case of an incident whereas nurseries are well-equipped with teachers, nurses, trained maids and caretaking staff. People drop their kids at neighbours’ houses to save some money but it is not recommended. Affordable baby care facilities are the need of the hour in Abu Dhabi.”

- Jonia Mathew, Indian

Neighbours should not take responsibility of others’ children because if an incident occurs, it may land them in big trouble. To save money, people take the illegal route but what can be more important than the safety and security of our children?

- Sameera Saud, Indian

Expats register wills

As many as 771 residents registered their wills at the Wills Registry for Non-Muslims last year, up from 153 in 2017.

Mohammad Al Jafry, director of Non-Muslims Wills Registration Office at the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department, said, “In the past two years we have registered a total of 924 wills for expatriates from different countries in the emirate of Abu Dhabi.”

He urged people to visit their office at the court and register their wills to protect the future of their families in case of any unfortunate incidents.

“In case of the death of a man, the wife, children or relatives mentioned in a will can claim assets left by the deceased in the country,” Al Jafry said.

The fee for registering a will is Dh950, Al Jafry added.