Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 4 April 2020

Emirati Children's Day: Sheikha Fatima calls for next generation to be 'empowered'

The day is celebrated on March 15 each year in recognition of the country's efforts to bolster children's rights

Young members of the Al Hosani family attend a press conference held last month to announce this year's Emirati Children's Day. Victor Besa/The National
Young members of the Al Hosani family attend a press conference held last month to announce this year's Emirati Children's Day. Victor Besa/The National

Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak called for the nation's youth to be "empowered" and "engaged" as the UAE joined together to mark the third annual Emirati Children's Day.

The event is observed on March 15 every year in recognition of the milestone date a law was approved to protect the rights of children and safeguard them from all forms of abuse.

The annual day was set up by Sheikha Fatima, chairwoman of the General Women's Union and president of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood (SCMC).

She said it was crucial to not only care for the next generation but to harness their potential and give them the tools to contribute to the continued rise of the country in years to come.

She highlighted the support afforded to children across the Emirates by UAE leaders.

"When we talk about children's rights, we talk about empowering them and engaging them to play a role in their community," said Sheikha Fatima.

"The creation of the Parliament for Emirati Children aims at providing the right platform for them to share their thoughts and ideas.

"He who cares for children cares for the future of one's homeland."

Emirati Children's Day was introduced to coincide with the approval of the Federal Law No 3, popularly called Wadeema's law, on March 15, 2016.

The legislation stipulates that children under the age of 15 cannot be granted employment. Those over the age of 15 can apply to work with the written consent of their parents or legal guardian.

The law was named in tribute to Wadeema, an 8-year-old Emirati girl whose death shocked the nation when she was found buried in the Sharjah desert in 2012.

The law protects Emiratis and residents and lays out the legal rights of minors in the UAE. It is designed to protect children until the age 18 from all types of abuse, including physical, verbal and psychological abuse.

The law was further strengthened in December, 2018 by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid.

The Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai issued a cabinet resolution that includes 23 clauses regulating the training and employment of minors, procedures for reporting offences against children, conditions for becoming a child welfare officer and obligations that must be met by families fostering children.

Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority marked the occasion by launching a competition encouraging parents to share the imaginative ways they have filled up the hours while spending more time at home together.

Precautionary measures taken to curb the spread of the coronavirus have led to the temporary closure of nurseries and schools, while many parents are also working remotely.

Residents are being urged to share their creativity by sending in pictures and videos to the authority's social media channels.

Updated: March 15, 2020 04:37 PM

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