NAT WADEEMA 1
The child protection law was instituted in memory of Wadeema, an eight-year-old girl who was starved and tortured to death by her father and his girlfriend. Image Credit:

Abu Dhabi: All films shown in UAE cinemas, broadcast on TV and available on online platforms must clearly declare the age of children allowed to watch them, new regulations issued for application of a federal child protection law said on December 26.

The regulations specify the procedures for reporting violations of children’s rights in educational institutions. The Ministry of Education shall circulate the reporting procedures to all schools and educational institutions to clarify the role of public and private school staff and institutions and their reporting responsibilities when observing any abuse or violence against the child or in the case of Suspicion of any violation of the rights of the child and the consequences of non-reporting.

According to the regulations, The Ministry of Community Development shall also prepare a database of those convicted of committing crimes against the child. The competent authorities shall provide the ministry with the data of those convicted of crimes against the child according to the forms prepared by the ministry for this purpose.

It include the terms of reference of the Child Protection Unit, including the receipt of reports of any violation of the rights of the child established in accordance with the legislation in force in the country, the assessment of the reported case in accordance with the approved form and appropriate preventive measures for the protection of the child under the law, providing counselling and support to families and children subjected to abuse, violence or exploitation, and educating them on the proper educational basis for dealing with children.

His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, issued the Cabinet decision No (52) of 2018 on the executive regulations of Federal Law No (3) of 2016 regarding the rights of the child, also known as ‘Wadeema’s Law’.

The regulations include 23 articles, including the conditions for the employment of children, prohibited placed, procedures for reporting violations of children’s rights in educational institutions, the terms of reference of the Child Protection Unit, conditions of child protection specialists, preventive measures, protection measures, foster family’s conditions and obligations.

The regulations stipulates that the Ministry of Community Development, in coordination with the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation, shall study the applications for the employment of children.

The application for employment shall be submitted by the guardian of the child or the caretaker in writing to the ministry.

Under the regulations, a child shall not be less than 15 years of age and to be medically fit for the work he or she will be doing, in addition to any other conditions determined by the ministries of Community Development, Human Resources and Emiratisation.

According to the regulations, the Ministry of Community Development issues a permit in case it approves the employment application and sends it to the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation. The Ministry of Community Development prepares a form for follow-up on child labour. The supervisor of child labour should prepare a periodic report every three months on the status of the child to the ministry.

The regulations prohibit the entry of children or taking them to adults’ places of entertainment, smoking areas, laboratories with fast and hazardous chemical reactions, high temperature plants and furnaces, gas and toxic waste sites, quarries, mines, underground extraction sites, rapid and dangerous rotary machinery workshops, places of war, armed conflict, natural and environmental disasters, weapons and explosives manufacturing locations.

Also banned are the entry of children, or taking them to places of projectiles, flying sparks and spills, places of recycling of unclean waste, places where epidemics and deadly diseases, places of interference and electromagnetic oscillations affecting the health of the child, places of manufacture of narcotic drugs and shops for the sale of adult materials .

Declare clearly

The rules excluded from the ban school visit and activities, in accordance with the regulations set by the Ministry of Education, and circulated to schools and educational bodies in the country.

The executive regulation requires directors of cinemas that show films, television channels, other movie show sites, and other similar places to declare clearly in Arabic and English the age of the children allowed to watch the films or materials presented.

The executive regulation requires supervisors of cinemas to request proof of the age of the child before allowing him to enter the show to ensure that the child’s age is suitable.

The regulations refer to the obligations of the Ministry of Community Development, which include coordinating with the concerned authorities to follow up the measures taken with regard to children in accordance with the provisions of the law and this resolution, and periodically reviewing them to ensure the best interests of the child and choosing the foster family, children who are placed in social welfare or heath institutions, or foster family, and adopt a training program to qualify the child protection specialist before being appointed.

The executive regulations required the child protection specialist to be a citizen of the country, to be fully qualified, to be of good conduct and to have never been convicted of an offence against honour or honesty, even if he had been rehabilitated, to have a university degree in social sciences or psychological or family and childhood or have a diploma in these specialities with experience of not less than three years in the field of child protection, and pass the training program approved by the ministry to qualify child protection specialist.

The executive regulations specify the conditions of the foster family, which shall consist of a couple of not less than 25 years of age. The spouses shall be reputable and behaved. The couple’s religion shall be compatible with the child’s religion, have never been committed a crime against honour or honesty, even if rehabilitated, and prove that they are free from infectious and psychological diseases and mental disorders affecting the health and safety of the child, through a report issued by an official medical body.

The foster family must be able to support its members and the child financially, and must undertake the good treatment and education of the child and the care, education, protection and development of the child in accordance with the approved undertaking form, as well as any other conditions determined by the Minister of Community Development on the recommendation of the Child Protection Unit in keeping with the provisions of the law and this decision.

In the event that the conditions for keeping the child in his family contained in article 47 of the Federal Children’s Rights Law no. (3) of 2016 are not fulfilled, the child shall be placed with a foster family or with an appropriate institution, social, educational or health institution, whether public or private, in accordance with the following regulations: Obtaining permission from the Public Prosecution, meeting the requirements of the law and this decision and the foster family must meet obligations under this decision, and that the foster family must be accredited by the Ministry of Community Development.

The rules order the administration of a penal institution, prior to the release of the convict for a crime of sexual abuse of children, to conduct psychological tests on the sentenced, and if the convict fails these tests, the Public Prosecutor shall be asked to refer him to a therapeutic shelter accompanied by the results of psychological tests that prove the incapacity of the sentenced to release him, and that the convict is still posing a social risk.

The executive regulations oblige the building authorities in each emirate to apply the special engineering standards and specifications, building codes and safety requirements that protect the child from any kind of harm by obligating the building owners to apply the mentioned standards, specifications and requirements and to ensure the implementation of the mentioned standards, specifications, and the failure of anyone who violates these requirements in accordance with the legislation in force in those entities.

The executive regulations set forth the procedure for preparing the report on the person who request the custody.

Highlights

Family: In instances of families unable to protect children, a child shall be placed with a foster family or with an appropriate institution, social, educational or health institution, whether public or private.

Public spaces: Building codes must include specifications and standards to protect children from any harm. Entry of children prohibited at adults’ places of entertainment, smoking areas, laboratories with fast and hazardous chemical reactions, high temperature plants and furnaces among others.

Workplaces: The regulations prohibit employment of children less than 15 years of age.

Schools: Regulations specify procedures for reporting violations of children’s rights in educational institutions. Public and private school staff must report instances of abuse or violence against children.

Security: The Ministry of Community Development shall also prepare a database of those convicted of committing crimes against the child.