x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

ID cards for UAE children in foster care

A committee has been tasked with finding a way to provide Emirates ID cards to children with unknown fathers.

ABU DHABI // A committee has been tasked with finding a way to provide Emirates ID cards to children with unknown fathers.

The committee will comprise representatives from the Federal National Council and Ministry of Social Affairs, the FNC decided on Tuesday.

Member Marwan bin Ghalita (Dubai) raised the issue with Maryam Al Roumi, Minister of Social Affairs, arguing that Emirati families fostering such children have are suffering from a lack of official documents. He said they cannot check them into hospitals, register them or travel abroad with them.

Mr bin Ghalita cited law No 1 of 2012, which says that a care centre for those with “unknown fraternity” will take the necessary steps to register children in official documents, and asked what has been done to register them.

Ms Al Roumi said one such care house would be established by the end of this year and open next year. It would issue official documents and coordinate between departments.

Until then, her ministry issues birth certificates to the children and chooses names for them that are in line with UAE and Islamic traditions. Then, the required documents are brought to the Ministry of Interior’s naturalisation committee so they can be issued passports.

However, Mr bin Ghalita said: “The important thing now is to have an exception to issue them ID cards.”

He said that it has been four years since the FNC discussed the law, but the results have not yet been seen. He read messages from Emirati parents about the problem.

He quoted one message that said: “Every time my daughter asks why we cannot travel, I lie to her.” For another parent, Umm Ahmed, “the situation became very painful” and the child “is not accepted anywhere”.

“She was rejected in the dental clinic because she does not have an ID card,” said Mr bin Ghalita.

He said the families chose to foster the children out of a sense of national responsibility, because “our vision in 2020 is to have equality in responsibility”.

“Today the local family says, ‘We are suffering from this’,” he said.

Ms Al Roumi said the care centre is under construction, but Mr bin Ghalita said three such buildings exist in Sharjah, Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Following the discussion, Mr bin Ghalita recommended the formation of the joint committee, which Ms Al Roumi welcomed. The council passed the recommendation.

hdajani@thenational.ae