x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Wadeema's law to include anti-truancy measures

The will be other rules that limit child access to shisha cafes and cinemas.

ABU DHABI // The new child-protection law is to include measures to deter youngsters from playing truant.

Rules will deal specifically with skipping school and also cover ways of limiting entertainment to those cutting classes.

They are among amendments to Wadeema's law, the child-protection legislation named after an eight-year-old Emirati girl who was starved and tortured to death by her father.

The changes are being proposed by the Federal National Council's labour, health, and social affairs committee after consultation with child-protection authorities.

"The bylaws will list the places children cannot enter," said Salem Al Ameri (Abu Dhabi), the committee's chairman. "Vendors who allow them in will be subject to a fine or a prison sentence."

Such venues include shisha cafes because of the health dangers of second-hand smoke. Other rules include banning children from seeing films that are not appropriate for their age group, with fines for cinemas that allow them entry.

The committee's amendments also call for children to be better protected in school from any verbal, emotional, physical or sexual abuse, to receive healthy food, and be safeguarded from any toys that could harm them.

This would apply from nursery until the age of 18, and at all private and public schools.

Parents will be made more aware of their children's work in schools because the law will make their involvement mandatory when choosing subjects and activities.

A clause was also added to protect a child's identity if they were involved in a court case or investigation.

Once the committee finalises its report, the bill with be referred to the full council for debate with the Minister of Social Affairs, Mariam Al Roumi.

osalem@thenational.ae