ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates - Wednesday, May 25th 2016 [ME NewsWire]
The Human Rights Department at the General Secretariat of the Office of H.H Deputy Prime Minister & Minister of Interior hosted an interactive dialogue session tnon the Child Rights Law “Wadeema”. The dialogue, which took place on Tuesday at the Hilton Grand Abu Dhabi, was attended by 33 societal and governmental entities.
In his welcome speech, Major General Khalifa Hareb Al Khaiaili, Acting Assistant Undersecretary of the Ministry of Interior for Naturalization, Residency and Ports Affairs, reiterated the Ministry of Interior’s unwavering commitment to establish the UAE as a cultural beacon, one that is a role model in the region for reinforcing child protection and safety, through effective precautionary measures to promote safety and security in society.
He said: “Partnerships amongst the different sectors are essential to achieve the objectives set out in the “Interactive Dialogue”, notably to introduce the law as a comprehensive international and national child protection requirement; and determine the respective responsibilities assumed by the concerned authorities and personnel. The objectives also include shedding the light on the mechanisms to provide protection and prevention for children; the criminal penalties incurred by violators, and their connections to the other regulations.”
The session was attended by Major General Salem Mubarak Al Shamesi, Director General of Finance and Support Services at the Ministry of Interior; Brigadier Ahmed Mohammed Nekhairah, Head of Human Rights Department at the Ministry of Interior; Judge Dr. Hatem Aly, UNODC's representative and head of the sub-regional office for the GCC; and Mohammed Salim Al Ka’bi, Chairman of the Emirates Human Rights Association (EHRA). Also present were Amina Za’al Al Muhairi, Deputy Director of Human Rights Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation; and a large crowd of guests including representatives of ministries, federal and local governmental entities, and civil society organizations concerned with human rights in the UAE.
Child Rights Law: a Significant Legislative Addition
The first session was chaired by Colonel Dr. Jassem Khalil Mirza, Head of the Media Committee at the Higher Committee for Child Protection at the Ministry of Interior. The main theme focused on the importance of this law, which redefines child protection, and represents a significant legislative addition to the UAE’s record of achievements. The first paper highlighted the content of the law and its relation to the national legislations and international conventions. The paper was presented by Moza Salem Al Shoumi, Member of the Supreme Council for Motherhood & Childhood, and Member of the Higher Committee for Child Protection at the Ministry of Interior.
Al Shoumi explained that the UAE dedicates significant attention to the protection of children and their rights, out of its firm belief that investing in children’s wellbeing is a way of investing in future growth. Based on this vision, the government was keen to implement the best of international standards to create a suitable environment for children where they can grow and be protected.
Adding further, Al Shoumi noted that the Child Rights Law, “Wadeema”, complements the host of social legislations in the UAE, which safeguard human rights, dignity and freedoms. She said: “The law includes many articles that aim to protect the rights of children, based on the Convention on the Rights of the Child signed by the UAE. It has contributed to establish the UAE as a hub for excellence in all areas related to child protection, and reflects the country’s efforts to promote child protection.”
In conclusion, Al Shoumi said: “Protecting children from abuse and neglect and early intervention can save a child’s life. Recent studies show that child abuse and neglect affect children’s health now and later, and can lead to chronic diseases, disabilities and even well into adulthood.”
The second paper was delivered by Family Consultant Dr. Abdul Aziz Mohammed Al Hammadi, Head of Family Cohesion Department at the Community Development Authority. In his paper titled “Family Cohesion Promote Community Cohesion”, Dr. Al Hammadi stressed the valuable importance of the Child Protection Law, as well as the need to implement the law and its regulations that will be issued soon. He said: “A cohesive family is capable of making a positive impact and keeping pace with developments while maintaining social traditions and norms. A cohesive family can nurture a purposeful relationship, based on beliefs and voluntary personal decisions, and can channel the behaviors of its members towards achieving certain objectives.”
In conclusion, Dr. Al Hammadi called for concerted efforts amongst all entities to achieve the objectives of the law. He also highlighted the key challenges that face families; notably, the inability to make positive healthy changes; prevalence of materialistic culture and values; life pressures; and busy parents. He also gave an overview of the external influencing factors, such as the rising pace of technological change in information and communications; the unlimited openness to other cultures, and the limited influence of school, university, and family.
Coordination and cooperation on Child Protection
The second session was chaired by Colonel Dr. Ahmad Ali Alkhzimi, Director of the Officers’ Training Institute at the Ministry of Interior, and discussed the role of the Child Protection Law in maintaining the cohesion and structure of families. Badriya Yousuf Al Farsi, Head of Programs and Research Department at the Dubai Foundation for Women and Children (DFWAC), and member of the Higher Committee for Child Protection at the Ministry of Interior, presented a paper on the mechanism of coordination and cooperation on child protection issues. She noted that DFWAC provides immediate protection and support services for women and children in the UAE against domestic violence, child abuse and human trafficking. She said: “In keeping with the Child Protection Law, DFWAC will provide women and children with temporary housing and care services including psychological, health, and social care. The Foundation will also provide urgent consultancy services for victims of abuse and violence, by acquainting them with their rights and methods of solving their problems, as well as training and rehabilitating victims to become active members within their community.”
Ms. Al Farsi also noted that DFWAC will also endeavor to boost awareness amongst community members about abuse and violence; women and children’s rights and the importance of protecting these rights. Additionally, the Foundation will provide psychological and social consultancy services to families that need to improve their stability, and provide legal representation for women and children-victims of abuse and violence.
Consultant Mohammed Ahmad Al Hammadi, from the Fatwa and Legislation Department at the Ministry of Justice, and Chairman of the Legislative Committee at the Higher Committee for Child Protection at the Ministry of Interior, reviewed the mechanisms that ensure legal protection for children. He explained that the Child Protection Law and its regulations ensure the optimal implementation of international child protection requirements and standards. It also takes into account consideration the international measures enforced to protect children against abuse. The new law has also regulated the fundamental children’s rights stipulated by the Constitution, and the ones that are included in the International Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the protocols included in the appendices.
Major General Khalifa Hareb Al Khaiaili, honored Hamdan bin Zayed Mixed School in Abu Dhabi in recognition of the school students’ performance at the opening ceremony of the ‘Interactive Dialogue’ session. The performance highlighted the valuable role of the family and its importance in nurturing the upcoming generation and protecting them against dangers.
Children also expressed their strong faith in the role that the UAE is playing in providing protection for children. They also noted that the Child Protection Law is child-friendly as it criminalizes offenders. Brigadier Ahmed Mohammed Nekhairah honored the Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC), session moderators, and all those who contributed valuable input to the sessions through their papers, in recognition of their efforts that enriched the interactive dialogue sessions.
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The Arabic-language text of this announcement is the official, authoritative version. Translations are provided as an accommodation only, and should be cross-referenced with the Arabic-language text, which is the only version of the text intended to have legal effect.
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