ABU DHABI // The country’s first child protection law will no longer be named after an eight-year-old girl tortured and murdered by her father and his girlfriend.
The Federal National Council decided to change the proposed name from Wadeema’s Law to protect her remaining family.
All but two council members voted in favour of renaming the law Child Rights, despite a strong argument against this by the Minister of Social Affairs, Mariam Al Roumi.
An FNC committee said that after looking at other child protection laws, they could not find any named after people, except in one case to refer to a law unofficially.
But Ms Al Roumi said that in the US alone, at least 10 laws were named after people and one after a tortured cat, Buster’s Law.
She said legislation had been named after victims to remind the public of tragic crimes and serve as a warning of the harsh punishments criminals could face.
“Wadeema’s law was suggested by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid [Vice President and Ruler of Dubai] because the case shook the society,” Ms Al Roumi said.
“Sheikh Mohammed emphasised the importance of naming this law Wadeema to remind people of the heinous acts that parents might try to commit on their children.”
She asked members to meet her halfway and name the law “Wadeema’s Law for Child Rights”. But members continued to resist.
Ahmed Al Shamsi (Ajman) said that UAE society was small, so naming the law Wadeema would harm her family.
He argued that the case was a tragedy the country should not be reminded of.
“The law was named after Wadeema for various reasons,” he said. “This story is not one we are proud of in the UAE and naming it Wadeema’s Law will remind her parents of the tragedy.
“We have to keep in mind the family’s reputation.”
Removing Wadeema’s name from the law would be more effective internationally, said Mosabeh Al Kitbi (Sharjah).
“I agree it should be the Child Rights law and not Wadeema’s law,” he said. “After we translate this law internationally, people will not recognise who or what Wadeema is. They don’t know who she is or what her story is.”
Ahmed Al Mansouri (Dubai), said the law could be named the Child Rights but referred to as Wadeema’s law unofficially.
The name change is now final.