The UAE stands firm in its commitment to protect children’s rights and ensure their empowerment through access to essential services, which include education and comprehensive healthcare. In 2016, the UAE introduced a landmark legislation, Federal Law No. 3, better known as Wadeema’s Law. This law secures children’s rights to protection, proper housing, healthcare, and education and shields them from neglect and abuse.
Demystifying Wadeema’s Law Wadeema’s Law, or Federal Law No. 3 of 2016, significantly emphasizes children’s rights. This law ensures: Children are entitled to suitable living conditions, healthcare, education, and equal opportunities without any discrimination. The law protects children from negligence, exploitation, and physical, and emotional abuse. It also prohibits smoking in confined spaces where children are present, including both public and private vehicles. Violators are subject to penalties outlined in the law. In critical situations, childcare professionals are allowed to remove children from their homes against parental consent, without requiring court approval. In less severe circumstances, professionals can intervene by regularly visiting the child, offering social support, and mediating a resolution between the family and the child. Penalties, including imprisonment, fines, or both, apply to individuals who endanger children, abandon them, neglect them, leave them unattended, fail to register them at birth or commit any of the acts mentioned above. This law protects all minors under 18 years old. Who is considered a child under Wadeema’s law? The law defines a child as any person born alive and under 18 years old. The term “custodian of the child” refers to the individual who has been granted legal custody or responsibility over the child.
The Scope of Wadeema’s Law The law, applicable to both UAE nationals and children of expatriates, outlines the legal rights of minors in the UAE. It aims to shield children from various forms of abuse, from birth through adolescence, such as physical, verbal, and psychological mistreatment.
Safeguarding Children’s Rights
Under Article 3, children are protected against discrimination based on race, ethnicity, religion, or disability. The law underlines that all decisions and actions concerning a child must prioritize the child’s safety and best interests.
Penalties for certain violations can lead to up to ten years in jail. The UAE’s new child rights legislation reaffirms the nation’s enduring commitment to upholding children’s rights and demonstrates the country’s persistent efforts in this field.
Regulating Employment of Minors According to Article 14 of the law, competent authorities are required to:
Prohibit the employment of children under the age of fifteen. Ban economic exploitation and employment in jobs that may pose risks to the child, due to the nature or circumstances of the work. Regulate conditions and principles of child labor in the UAE in line with the Implementing Regulation of the Law and the Labour Law.
Persons aged at least 15 years may be employed under specific conditions, such as obtaining formal permission from the guardian and providing birth and medical fitness certificates from the relevant medical authorities.
Violations of Child Labour Laws in the UAE Article 38 of the Law prohibits the following:
The exploitation of children in begging Illegal Child labor Forcing children into activities harmful to their education, physical or mental health, or their moral and mental integrity. Penalties for Violating Child Labour Laws in the UAE Article 68 of the Law stipulates penalties for those who violate child labor laws. Violators face imprisonment and a fine of no less than AED 20,000. The law views the endangerment of the life of a child under fifteen years old, or the threat to their physical, mental, or moral well-being as an aggravating circumstance.
The UAE prioritizes the safeguarding and rights of children significantly. It was among the first countries in the Middle East to ratify the United Nations Convention on Child Protection. The UAE has integrated provisions for children’s rights in various existing laws to ensure their thorough implementation. The examples provided above clearly demonstrate how the new law fortifies the existing legislation protecting children’s rights. The introduction of this law is celebrated as it underscores the UAE’s enduring efforts to defend children’s rights and affirms its dedication to this cause.
Our registered Labour Lawyers in Dubai, UAE Lawyers & Legal Consultants in Dubai are well equipped to offer appropriate legal advice and consultancy in Dubai on any legal matters. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us for more information on this law or any other legal inquiries you may have. Our top attorneys in UAE are ready to assist you. For further insights on child labor laws in the UAE and related regulations, we encourage you to contact us.