Violation of Children’s Rights in the UAE

Violation of Children’s Rights in the UAE

The United Arab Emirates is a federation of seven states that was founded on the 2nd of December 1971. The first president of the country made a lot of effort to modernize the country and invested oil profits to build schools, hospitals, and houses. Although the UAE is one of the richest countries in the world, sadly it remains a place where the rights of children are not observed in a proper manner. This is a grave concern and should be dealt with immediately by the bodies of the United Nations.

  • Statelessness

There are over 5.3 million people living in the UAE, out of which only about 825,500 people possess the nationality of the UAE. This is because of a variety of very strict laws which govern as to who is eligible for nationality and who is not. It has resulted in non-citizens, particularly children to have limited access to basic rights, like education and healthcare.

Some of these laws state:

  • Only children born of fathers who have the UAE citizenship are eligible to obtain UAE nationality.

  • Women who have UAE nationality and are married to foreigners cannot pass on their citizenship to their children. Such children find themselves without any nationality and hence, are vulnerable to a myriad of human rights violations.

  • Discrimination in Education

Although the literacy rate of the UAE is quite high, there are certain types of education which cannot be accessed by girls. On the other hand, the children of foreign migrant workers have a problem while trying to integrate into the Emirati education system.

As a consequence, the UAE has established special schools which teach an entirely different syllabus in their native language. This has been done to prevent children from integrating into the Emirati society.

  • Trafficking of Children

Many young children, being of four to five years old were kidnapped and smuggled into the UAE, where they were ill-treated, deprived of sleep and food, and forced into manual labor. Most of them were used as camel jockeys; a sport which dates back to the time of the Bedouin tribes.

Many children had stunted growth and some even died before they reached the age of 11. Although child camel jockeys have been banned, there are a few remote regions where it is still practiced.

  • Forced Marriages

The legal age of marriage for all citizens in the UAE is 18 and the average age of women who get married is 24. Yet, there have been and there are cases of forced marriages of women as young as 20 years.

  • Child Abuse

There are virtually no strict laws which prevent child abuse within families. The law for juvenile offenders is also quite strict; a child over the age of 16 can be whipped for battery, assault, murder, illegal sexual relations, theft, and alcohol abuse. The Shariah law in the UAE has set seven years as the age of criminal responsibility. Furthermore, the death penalty exists and is valid for minors as well.