Children's rights in UAE: Law bans child labour, protects from discrimination, abusive parents

The law stipulates a range of punishments for abuses, with up to 10 years in prison mandated for certain violations


Ismail Sebugwaawo

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Published: Mon 14 Mar 2022, 7:18 PM

The UAE is keen on protecting children and their rights through enforcing laws to protect them and empower them by providing education, good health and other facilities.

In 2016, the UAE introduced a new law, namely the Federal Law No. 3 of 2016, concerning children's rights. The UAE Child Rights Law, formerly known as "the Wadeema Law", protects children from abuse and neglect and supports their right to safety, shelter, health care and education.

The law - which covers UAE nationals and children of expats - lays out the legal rights of minors in the UAE and is designed to protect children from birth to puberty from a variety of forms of abuse, including physical, verbal, and psychological abuse.

Among the main points enshrined in the law are banning child labour and the sale of tobacco to minors under the age of 18, protection in case of abandonment by parents or guardians, and protection from negligence.

Additionally, it ensures rights to education, citizenship and access to health care services, equal opportunities in essential services and facilities without any discrimination and prohibits the use of children in any form of pornography.

Under the law, smoking in public and private vehicles and indoor facilities where children are present is also prohibited, and violators are subject to penalties as set out by the law.

The law allows childcare specialists to remove children from their homes against parents' wishes and without judicial permission in cases of imminent danger.

In less severe cases, specialists may regularly visit the child, providing social services, and mediating a solution between the family and the child.

Those who put children in danger, abandon them, neglect them, leave them without supervision, do not enrol them in school or register them upon their birth will be subject to a prison sentence or a fine or both.


Article 3 protects a child against discriminatory acts based on race, ethnic origin, religion, or disability.

The law also highlights that the protection of a child and the child's interests must prioritise all decisions and procedures concerning the child.

The law stipulates a range of punishments for abuses, with up to 10 years in prison mandated for certain violations.

The UAE child rights law confirms the country's long commitment to children's rights and continues its efforts to safeguard children's rights.

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