In common language, infanticide means killing or murdering a very young child, who is less than 1 year old.

In the United Arab Emirates, while there is no specific law on infanticide, the Wadeema's Law provides protection to children in the UAE.

What is the Wadeema's Law?

Wadeema's Law is the Federal Law 3 of 2016 on Child's Rights which deals with the rights and protections guaranteed to the child. Under Article 3 of the Wadeema's Law, a child is protected by the State without discrimination because of origin, sex, home country, religion, social status or disability.

Protections under the Wadeema's Law

One of the fundamental rights of the child under the Wadeema's Law is that the child has the right to life and security. That means that the child has the fundamental right to be alive and live their life under Article 7 of the Wadeema's Law.

Additionally, the Wadeema's Law obligates the competent authorities and concerned entities to maintain the child's right to live, survival and development and provide all necessary opportunities to facilitate this and grant the child a free, secure and developed life. It is also the responsibility of the authorities to protect the child from neglect, exploitation and abuse. The best interest of the child has to be protected at all times by the competent authorities. These responsibilities of the authorities have been set out under Article 2 of the Wadeema's Law.

Further, Article 4 of the Wadeema's Law states that the natural family of the child is the first and best environment for the upbringing of the child. But such a family may be replaced by an alternate family, with the child's protection and his/her best interest being the priority of the authorities. The authorities will give the child protection, care, rescue and guidance in cases of emergencies, disasters, armed conflicts and any crime committed against the child.

Can a child be exposed to rejection or neglect?

No, it is prohibited for a child to be exposed to rejection, homelessness or neglect under Article 35 of the Wadeema's Law. Article 34 of the Wadeema's Law also prohibits endangerment of the mental, psychological, physical or moral integrity of the child, whether this occurs through abandonment of the child by the custodian, leaving the child at a care institution without any reason, etc.

It is prohibited to expose the child to torture, or commit any act which involves cruelty affecting the child's emotional, psychological, mental or moral health.

What protection measures can be taken to protect the child?

While several measures to protect the child have been enumerated in the Wadeema's Law, one of which is the appointment of a child protection specialist. Under Article 51 of the Wadeema's Law, any action or omission which poses a threat to the child's life, physical, psychological, mental or moral integrity or health which cannot be avoided over time, will be considered as significant harm or imminent danger to the child. In such cases of significant harm or imminent danger to the child, the child protection specialist will take the child out from the place he/she is currently in and move her/him to a place which is safe. The child protection specialist performs this action under his personal liability.

Within 24 hours of the action above, the child protection specialist will obtain a judicial order to continue taking the measures of keeping the child in a safe place.


The protection of a child's life is protected by federal law in the United Arab Emirates and the authorities and concerned custodians are required to ensure that the protections granted under the Wadeema's Law are accordingly followed.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.