Rights experts urge end to crimes against children

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Rights experts urge end to crimes against children

Dubai - The suggestion came during a dialogue session among Emirates Human Rights Association (EHRA) members.

By Sherouk Zakaria 

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Published: Sat 23 Jul 2016, 9:33 PM

Last updated: Sun 24 Jul 2016, 8:57 AM

Human rights experts urged authorities to hold background check before issuing visas for newcomers to halt crimes against children.
The suggestion came during a dialogue session among Emirates Human Rights Association (EHRA) members that was held to discuss reasons behind the recent increase of crimes against children and came up with suggestions to be implemented in line with UAE Child Protection Law that took effect on June 15.
"Some countries deport criminals as a way of punishment. The government has to conduct a criminal record check before letting expats enter the country," said Khalid Alhosani, the association's secretary-general.
He referred to the Jordanian Nidhal Abu Ali, who was recently accused in sexually assaulting and murdering eight-year-old Obaida and whose records showed previous criminal misconduct.
Although the UAE has lately introduced laws that protect children, even from their closed ones, and established centres to carry out the mission, the country still witnessed an increase in crimes against children, said the association's general director Jamila Al Hamli.
She added: "We have to know the reasons behind these incidents and work with authorities to tackle them down."
Chairman of Labour Affairs Committee of EHRA Salem Al Mamari, stressed that the main reason behind child abuse comes from the family's negligence. He added that children often fall victims to their parent's divorce and unstable families.
"The main responsibility lies on the parents' shoulders. They have to educate the child and be present at all times, without entirely relying on housekeepers," said Al Qaishi.
He further proposed a regulation that would prevent housing families in industrial areas. Al Qaishi stated municipality officials should create housing divisions specifically for families to provide a protected environment for children and avoid crimes committed against them.
But legal counsel and board member Michaal Al Timimi emphasised addressing children directly. He touched on sexual harassment against children in Europe, where educating children became the priority 50 years ago through broad school campaigns, especially in Scandinavian countries.
"While we try to educate families and societies, we should start educating children themselves. The conversation must be directed towards them since they are the main beneficiaries," said Al Timimi.
Al Timimi also emphasised on establishing a clear dialogue with the children within the family. He added that providing the child with a safe environment to talk and be transparent is necessary for their protection.
"Nowadays, we see children are too shy to talk, and even when they do, their language is incoherent. They should be encouraged to engage in conversations and talk to their parents about their school day and surroundings," said Al Timimi.
Board members also proposed introducing weekly classes in schools in cooperation with the Ministry of Education to raise awareness on child abuse.
But while raising awareness to all society segments is important, the family's role in child protection remains a priority, said Al Hamli.
"Our children are the future. Anything that hurts them, hurts the whole nation on the long run," she said.
Attending the meeting was also the association's Children Affairs Committee chairman Abdul Rahman Ghanem, member of board director Obaid Ali Alshamsi and a number of board members.

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