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October 18, 2021
The Federal Law No. 3 of 2016 on Child Rights (also known as the 'Wadeema law' or 'UAE child protection law') was enacted in the UAE to ensure that all children in the UAE, irrespective of whether they are citizens, residents or tourists, are accorded with the right to life, education, protection from neglect as well as all forms of abuse whether physical, sexual, verbal, emotional or psychological.
According to Article 3 of this Law, the rights of the children are protected without any discrimination as to the origin, sex, home country, religion, social status or disability of any child.
Child Negligence and the Punishments Imposed:
The UAE child protection law defines, under Article 1, 'child neglect’ as the 'failure of the parents or the custodian to take necessary actions to preserve the child's life, as well as his/her physical, mental and moral integrity from risks and to protect his/her various rights'. Child negligence can be of different types: it can be physical, educational, medical or even emotional.
Abandonment or Improper Care:
Under Wadeema’s law, it is prohibited to:
According to Article 37 of the Law, the following acts shall be prohibited:
Imprisonment of up to 10 years may be imposed for the violation.
Under Article 26 of the Wadeema Law, it is prohibited to publish, display, circulate, possess or produce any visual, audio or printed works or games for children that address the child's sexual instincts or adorn the behaviours that are contrary to the public order and morals or that would encourage abnormal behaviour. The punishment for violation is a penalty of imprisonment not less than a year, and a fine ranging from AED 100,000 to AED 400,000.
The UAE child protection laws have been enacted to ensure that appropriate living standards, right to health and educational rights are guaranteed to all children in the UAE without any discrimination. The Law protects children against all forms of negligence, exploitation, and physical and psychological abuses and it further imposes the onus on the community, especially physicians, educators, healthcare workers and other members of the society, to mandatorily report instances of child negligence.
The above information might not apply if both parties are non-muslim. Starting from the 1st of February 2023, UAE issued specific family law to be applied between non-muslim expatriate residents in case none of them wanted to apply his/her home country's law in the UAE. To know more information about this law, please feel free to click this link.