The protection of children's rights and their well-being is of paramount importance in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
To ensure the welfare of minors, the UAE government has established robust legal frameworks, including Federal Law No. (6) of 2022 Concerning Juvenile Delinquents and Those at Risk of Delinquency and Federal Law No. 3 of 2016 On Child Rights, commonly known as Wadeema's Law.
This legislation aims to strike a balance between providing care and support for children while holding them accountable for their actions. Moreover, it addresses the crucial issue of coddling delinquent minors, wherein individuals or authorities shield juveniles from the consequences of their actions, potentially hindering their rehabilitation and integration into society.
Federal Law No. (6) of 2022 Concerning Juvenile Delinquents and Those at Risk of Delinquency:
Federal Law No. (6) of 2022 is a comprehensive legislation designed to safeguard the rights of juveniles in the UAE. It emphasizes early intervention and support to prevent juveniles from engaging in criminal behaviour. The law also addresses the issue of coddling delinquent minors, recognizing that such practices can be detrimental to a juvenile's development and accountability.
Rights Guaranteed Under Federal Law No. (6) of 2022:
Article 1 of the law defines a juvenile as an individual who has reached the age of seven and is below the age of eighteen. This legislation ensures that every juvenile, irrespective of their background, is entitled to certain rights and protections. These rights encompass access to education, healthcare, protection from abuse, and the right to be treated fairly without any discrimination.
Identification of Those at Risk of Delinquency:
Federal Law No. (6) of 2022 prioritizes the identification and intervention of juveniles at risk of delinquency. It acknowledges that certain circumstances, such as unstable family environments, exposure to violence, neglect, or substance abuse, may increase the likelihood of juveniles engaging in delinquent behaviour. To address this concern, the law mandates the establishment of specialized committees responsible for evaluating risk factors and devising suitable intervention programs for at-risk juveniles.
Threats to Juvenile Integrity and Well-being:
The law identifies various threats to a juvenile's physical, psychological, moral, or mental integrity, necessitating protection. These threats include neglect, abuse, exploitation, or involvement in criminal activities. By identifying and addressing these challenges, the law aims to ensure the safety and well-being of juveniles in the UAE.
Fines for Coddling Delinquent Minors under Federal Law No. (6) of 2022:
Coddling delinquent minors is a serious offence under Federal Law No. (6) of 2022, and the law imposes fines on individuals engaged in such practices. The pertinent articles related to these fines are as follows:
Article (40): Whoever delivers a juvenile and refuses to present him to the competent authorities upon their request or deliberately refrains from following up on the follow-up care programs shall be punished with a fine of not less than AED 5,000 and not exceeding AED 30,000.
Article (41): Whoever harbours a juvenile delinquent, incites him to violate the law, or helps him to do so, shall be punished by imprisonment and a fine of no less than AED 50,000.
Article (42): This article outlines various penalties based on different scenarios, such as helping or inciting a juvenile to commit delinquency, preparing a juvenile to commit a crime, or using coercion or threat against a juvenile. The fines range from AED 50,000 to AED 200,000, and imprisonment periods vary depending on the severity of the offence.
Article (43): Anyone who publishes, without permission, the name and pictures of the delinquent juvenile or publishes the facts of the investigation or trial shall be punished by imprisonment for no less than one year and a fine of no less than AED 50,000.
Federal Law No. 3 of 2016 On Child Rights (Wadeema's Law):
Wadeema's Law is a comprehensive legislation specifically dedicated to protecting the rights of children in the UAE. It addresses the issue of coddling delinquent minors and ensures that every child has all the rights outlined within its provisions.
Rights Guaranteed Under Wadeema's Law:
Article 1 of Wadeema's Law defines a child as every human being born alive and who is under the age of eighteen years. The law ensures that every child has all the rights outlined within its provisions and under other legislations enforced in the UAE. Importantly, the law ensures that children are protected without discrimination based on factors such as origin, sex, home country, religion, social status, or disability.
Threats to the Child's Integrity:
The law identifies various threats to a child's physical, psychological, moral, or mental integrity, requiring protection under the law. These threats encompass situations such as loss of parental care, neglect, rejection, homelessness, abuse, exploitation, exposure to harmful ideologies, child begging, economic exploitation, and kidnapping or trafficking.
Wadeema's Law also addresses the importance of addressing psychological or mental disabilities that may affect a child's well-being.
Fines for Coddling Delinquent Minors under Wadeema's Law:
Wadeema's Law imposes fines on individuals who engage in coddling practices to discourage actions that might negatively impact a child's future and discourage individuals from shielding delinquent minors from accountability.
The specific fines for coddling delinquent minors include violations related to the sale of tobacco or tobacco products to children, smoking in the presence of a child, selling alcoholic beverages to children, and circulating child pornography materials. Violators may face imprisonment and fines ranging from AED 15,000 to AED 1,000,000, depending on the severity of the offence.
The UAE's commitment to protecting the rights and welfare of children is evident through its robust legal frameworks, which include Federal Law No. 3 of 2016 On Child Rights (Wadeema's Law) and Federal Law No. (6) of 2022 Concerning Juvenile Delinquents and Those at Risk of Delinquency.
These laws prioritize the well-being of children and aim to strike a balance between providing care and support while holding them accountable for their actions.
By imposing fines for coddling delinquent minors, the UAE underscores the importance of discouraging practices that hinder a child's rehabilitation and integration into society.
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