The United Nations came into being on 24 October 1945 after the UN charter was ratified by most of the original 51 Members states. The main objective of the UN is to provide a platform for nations to come together and work for the well-being of the human race.
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It is premised on the principles of justice and human dignity and offers countries a chance to establish equilibrium between domestic national interests and international interests. Its headquarters are in New York, United States, and it currently has 192 members who meet in the general assembly.
This report will explain the needs for child rights policies as stipulated in the convection of the rights of the child, analyze the UAE laws, policies, and resources as regards to child’s rights and assess the degree to which the UAE addresses children’s rights as compared to conditions set by the UN Charter.
In the year 1989, the General Assembly adopted the convention on the rights of the child. This came after 10 years of intense discussions, and compromise. It was ratified by many nations with little reservations. The convection gives an ideal avenue for children to know about their rights as human beings.
It also provides an international framework for all stakeholders, adults, children, governments, and society in general, to be aware of and uphold the rights of the child. According to the convection, a child is anyone who has not attained the age of 18. The convection contains 54 articles which provide for protection, provision, and participation of the child.
A child should be protected from all forms of abuse, discrimination, and exploitation. The needs of the child as pertains to food, shelter, education, family, and healthcare should be provided. The child should be allowed to participate in making decisions that affect his or her life.
The convection is guided by four main principles. Article 2 centers on non-discrimination and provides that no child is to be discriminated against based on whichever basis. Article 3 provides that should the interest of a child conflict with those of an adult, be it parents, teachers, or otherwise, the interests of the child should prevail. Article 6 guarantees the right of the child to life, meaningful survival, and full development.
Article 12 affirms that the child’s views should be respected in all matters to do with a decision that will affect the child. The member government has an obligation to publicize those rights under article 42.
In addition, a member government should present a report to the United Nations general assembly as regards to child protection. The UN on its side appoints a special Rapporteur to monitor the observance of the fore stated rights.
United Arab Emirates has ratified several international and regional convections, treaties, and laws. On the 3rd of January 1997, the country ratified the United Nations Convection on the Rights of the Child. It however expressed reservations to several articles and declined to sign optional protocols on involvement of the child in armed conflict, sale of children, and children prostitution and pornography.
The only other international convections that UAE has acceded to are the Convection on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2010), the International Convection on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination (1974), and the Convection on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (2004).
Regionally, UAE has agreed to Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam (1990) and the Amended version of the Arab Charter of Human Rights (2008).
Locally, the UAE constitution contains several articles that are important for protection of the child. Article 16 stipulates that the society should protect the child and provide an enabling environment for realization of the child’s full potential. Article 17 makes education compulsory for all citizens, from the elementally level to University. Article 19 guarantees access to health care.
The Federal Anti-Human Trafficking Act No.51 (2006) provided for the setting up a committee to combat human trafficking. In 2007, the Dubai Women’s and Children’s foundation was established to look after the welfare of violence victims.
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By a presidential decree, the Family Development Foundation was set in 2006 to address primarily the rights of children and women. Moreover, Non-Governmental Organizations corroborate the efforts of the government in enhancing the welfare of the children. An example is the Red Crescent and World Health Organization. These organizations receive subsidies from the UAE government.
Have all those resources been harnessed adequately to enhance the well being of the child as stipulated by the United Nations Convection on Child’s rights? In the period between 2004-2006, the UAE government through a contribution of $ 2.7 Million assisted in the repatriation of 1,073 children, emigrants who had been forced into the camel race, a popular game in the country (Committee on the Rights of the Child, 2002).
An additional $ 9 million supported the education and shelter of the emigrants’ children. Schools’ enrollment has drastically increased and the country is on the track to achieve universal education by 2015 (UAE has taken serious measures to protect rights of children, 2005).
In 2007, Polio was totally eradicated from UAE. Infant mortality rates in UAE are among the lowest in that region reducing from 17 in 1990 to 7 by 2009 in every 1,000 children born (Abdul-Hamid, 2011)
In spite of the progress, UAE still falls short in adherence to the letter and spirit of the UN charter. While the UN convection is unequivocal in its proclamation of access to education for all, UAE continues to perpetuate practices that hinder the realization of the vision envisaged by the UN.
Reports from the Committee on the Rights of the Child indicate that children of non-citizens are subjected to rigorous examinations before being admitted to public schools (2002). The pass mark is very high at 90%. Worse still, the language of assessment is Arabic. It is even harder for children who are stateless. Similarly, information on the level of access to education of girls in rural areas is largely unavailable.
The government has also failed to create awareness on the child’s rights as required by the UN convection on Child’s rights. Lack of a framework to protect children exposes them to violence and therefore impacts negatively on their education.
Only 6 % of parents take care of their children directly (94 per cent of Dubai children reared by nannies, 2011). The UAE government has maintained a restricted social and political environment. This stifles the dissemination of information.
In summary, the report has attempted an explanation on the United Nations Convection on Child’s rights. It has given justification of such policies as the need to enhance the well being of the child so that he or she can enjoy full human rights.
It has analyzed the various legislations, policies, and resources at the disposal of UAE. Lastly, it has assessed whether the UAE has lived up to the expectations on the UN convection on Child’s rights it ratified in 1997.Though not fully adhered to, UAE can be hailed as being on the right track.
Abdul-Hamid,M. (2011). Situation Analysis Middle East and North Africa August 2011. Save the Children Sweden, 2(1), 197-204. Web.
Committee on the Rights of the Child. (2002). Concluding observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child – United Arab Emirates (CRC/C/15/Add.183), Abu Dhabi,United Arabs Emirate: Author p:
UAE has taken serious measures to protect rights of children. (19/10/2005). Web.