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5-year-old boy found at mall in Dubai moved to child shelter

5-year-old boy found at mall in Dubai moved to child shelter
(Representational image)

Dubai - UAE's Wadeema Law guarantees a child's rights, including protection, education and proper care.

By Hesham Salah, Angel Tesorero and Marie Nammour

Published: Tue 17 Sep 2019, 10:30 PM

A five-year-old boy who was found alone at a mall last week has been shifted to the Dubai Foundation for Women and Children (DFWAC), police sources have told Khaleej Times. The boy had been under the care of officers at Al Muraqqabat Police Station for over a week after an Asian woman found him wandering at Reef Mall in Deira on September 7.

The Dubai Police had posted a photo of the boy on their social media platforms the next day, appealing for help in tracing his parents. All major newspapers, including Khaleej Times, published the missing report. It was not immediately clear if the police have managed to trace the boy's parents or guardians.

Advocate-General Mohammed Ali Rustom Bu Abdullah, Head of the Juvenile and Family Prosecution, told Khaleej Times that the case file has not been referred to them yet. Explaining the process, he said if the boy remains unclaimed, the prosecution issues an approval for the abandoned child to be left in the care of a foundation. In this case, it is the DFWAC. "The foundation addresses the embassy of the country of the child to see how they can also offer help and facilities for him," said Advocate-General Mohammed.
What next for the boy?

Afra Rashid Al Basti, Director-General of the Dubai Foundation for Women and Children (DFWAC), told Khaleej Times that all legal actions, including the decision for the legal adoption of an abandoned child, will be undertaken by law enforcement authorities. But while undergoing the legal procedure, the child will be placed under the custody of the DFWAC.

Established in July 2007, the DFWAC is the first licensed shelter in the UAE for victims of domestic violence, child abuse and human trafficking. It was created to offer victims immediate protection and support services in accordance with international human rights obligations.

"Any abandoned child or victims of abuse will be provided shelter and given the necessary provision to build his/her capacity. The decision for his adoption will be taken up by the police as well as the public prosecution office, and all other requirements will be taken care the Community Development Authority (CDA)," Al Basti said.

The UAE's Wadeema Law guarantees a child's rights, including protection, education and proper care. "These children are victims. They will study and have rights to proper medical care," said Emirati lawyer Abdul Moneim bin Suwaidan of Bin Suwaidan Advocates and Legal Consultants.
What the law says

> 2-year jail for anyone who puts the life of a juvenile under 15 at risk

> 2-year jail if the act is done through a third party and to a person unable to protect himself/herself due to a health, mental or physical condition

> 10-year jail if abandonment leads to the victim's death or disability

> Dh10,000 fine and/or 3-year jail for putting the life of a child under 7 at risk

(As said by Lawyer Hani Hammouda of Kefah Al Zaabi Firm for Advocacy and Legal Consultancy)

* Jail term is the maximum prescribed under the law.


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