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UAE shows wholehearted care for children

“Safety and security don’t just happen, they are the result of collective consensus and public investment. We owe our children, the most vulnerable citizens in our society, a life free of violence and fear.” On World Children’s Day, which falls on November 20, iconic leader Nelson Mandela’s words hold a lot of relevance.

The dangers that face children in various parts of the globe, the hazards that are not of their making cannot be overlooked. They are hit by war, conflict, poverty, abuse, exploitation of labour and slavery.

It is a Gordian knot that apparently refuses to untangle. In most cases, poverty is the main reason children and teens worldwide end up homeless or living on the streets, according to a new review of past research.   

A 2017 study has revealed that from fist fights at school to murder and physical abuse, each year nearly three in four children worldwide experience some form of violence, which has long-term health and economic costs.

The study found that an estimated 1.7 billion boys and girls across the globe suffer mental or physical abuse each year, with children in Africa bearing the heaviest burden.

With schools in many European countries still shut to contain the coronavirus pandemic, children are spending more time online, making them more vulnerable to abusers, who are also at home most of the day, human rights experts say. Children’s rights are also being violated from a very unlikely quarter: climate change. Which has led reputed environmental activist and Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg and other activists to file a complaint with the United Nations Children’s Fund and how their lives and homes have been upturned by climate change because of leaders’ inaction.

Thunberg has galvanised young people around the world since she started protesting alone with a sign outside the Swedish parliament building in August 2018.

Last year, the World Food Programme  resolved to build a coalition promoting initiatives such as school feeding so as to unleash the full potential of 73 million vulnerable children in 60 countries by 2030. It’s estimated every dollar invested in school feeding brings a $3-10 return from improved health and education among schoolchildren and increased productivity when they become adults.

The UAE’s efforts to spotlight the protection of children’s rights are very pertinent.

Dr. Khawla Al Mulla, Secretary-General of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs in Sharjah, SCFA, has highlighted the UAE’s commitment to implementing child rights, and its distinguished record in the childcare field locally, regionally, and globally. The cultural and developmental vision of Sharjah is guided by the words of His Highness Dr. Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, “The child is the human being of the future and from him begins the industry’s most valuable capital.” The vision remains a catalyst for promoting children.

On World Children’s Day, we celebrate the leadership of the UAE and its commitment to implementing child rights.  Allocating a specific day for celebrating the Emirati child, which is observed on 15th March each year, reflects the attention of the leadership to childhood and their relentless efforts to preserve children’s rights.

The country’s Public Prosecution recently pointed out that custodians who neglect their children can be punished by the law.

The Public Prosecution stressed that under Articles 35 and 60 of Federal Law No. 03 for 2016 on the children’s rights law, “Wadeema’s Law”, a custodian cannot expose their children to rejection, homelessness or neglect, leave them without supervision or monitoring, refrain from their guidance, not handle their affairs, not enrol them at an educational institution, or neglect their education without due reason.”

This itself shows the wholehearted concern of the nation for the safety and security of children. It is something that has to be praised.

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