People entrusted with child care who create or distribute child
pornography face at least 10 years in jail and fines of up to Dh1
million, the final version of the Child Protection Law
Informally named Wadeema's Law, in memory of an
eight-year-old Emirati girl tortured to death by her father and his
girlfriend, the legislation covers abuse and criminal negligence of
children. It took effect on June 15 this year.
The legislation included 75 articles that cover new provisions
not addressed by other laws, said Jassim Al Hosni, the first judge
of appeals at Dubai Courts.
He said the law specified that offenders could not claim
ignorance of their victim's age as their defence.
"It is noteworthy that Article 70 of the law stipulates
that the offender may not claim that they are unaware of the
victim's age," Mr Al Hosni said.
The law prohibits production, distribution, display and
possession of any photos where a child is depicted in an indecent
position, whether real or simulated.
Communications companies and network service providers must
notify authorities if child pornography is circulated on the
internet and provide information on the people or sites circulating
Failing to report will result in a minimum of six months in jail
and fines of between Dh100, 000 and Dh1m.
If people entrusted with child care are found taking part in
producing or filming pornographic material, they can be imprisoned
for at least 10 years.
Possession of child pornography will lead to a year in jail and
a minimum fine of Dh100, 000. Using the internet or other forums to
transmit such material will lead to similar punishments.
The law also prohibits torturing or harming a child, with
offenders facing fines of at least Dh50, 000. Parents or guardians
can be fined more than Dh5, 000 for failing to register a child at
birth, not enrolling them in school and for abandoning them.
Prevention is a key element of the new law, said Hassan Elhais,
legal consultant at Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.
"I believe this law will make a major difference and it will
be followed by many other countries in the Middle East," Mr
Elhais said. "This law achieves all three points. It will make
any potential criminal think twice before committing any of the
crimes listed. The law gives the highest protection to children. It
really aims to protect children from a small age until they grow
Aid workers believe there will be fewer cases of abuse with the
"There is no doubt that the Child Protection Law will help
reduce child abuse and violation of their privacy," said Ahmed
Al Tartoor, a senior official with Sharjah's Social Services
Department's children's rights section.
"The enactment of strict laws will keep them away from
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