x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

UAE to launch new study on child welfare

A new study is to be launched as part of an initiative to create national guidelines for protecting children's rights.

ABU DHABI // A new study on child welfare is to be launched as part of an initiative to create national guidelines for protecting children's rights, the official news agency WAM reported yesterday. The last such study was conducted in 2003 by the United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef) and the General Women's Union (GWU), said the Unicef representative to Gulf countries, Dr Ayman Abu Laban.

The news comes only a month after Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed forces, spoke out against child cruelty after a couple were convicted of abusing their nine-year-old daughter. The pair, who cannot be named for legal reasons, were originally sentenced to 10 years in prison. But their sentences were reduced by three years following a legal appeal that was heard in private session. The judge did not give an explanation for the reduction.

The research into the state of child welfare in the UAE will be carried out by governmental and non-government organisations, although WAM provided no details of when the research would be started or the report completed. The GWU will use the results of the research to help in develop a set of child welfare principles known as the National Childhood Strategy. The director of the GWU, Nora al Suwaidi, said that the National Childhood Strategy would in turn help in shaping government policy.

The strategy will be guided by child rights principles compiled by Unicef and the Arab Childhood Plan, which were launched by the Arab League in 2004. chamilton@thenational.ae