Committee on the Rights of the Child: United Arab Emirates

Session 070 (2015)

(2 October 2015, CRC/C/ARE/CO/2 Advance Unedited Version, Concluding observations on second report, paras. 37, 38, 39 and 40)

“The Committee, while noting that a new policy has been formulated for the investigation of cases of abuse and neglect of children, remains particularly concerned that:

a) the existing legislation of the State party does not specifically criminalize all forms of violence against children;

b) article 53 (1) of the Penal Code authorizes men to use violence against their wives and children within the limits prescribed by Sharia or by law and provides that perpetrators of crimes can escape punishment if ‘performed in good faith’;

c) in 2010, the State party’s Federal Supreme Court issued a ruling indicating that beating and other forms of punishment or coercion by husbands on their wives were allowed provided they do not leave physical marks;

d) whereas corporal punishment of children is prohibited in school, it is lawful in the home and as a sentence for crime.

“Recalling the recommendations of the United Nations study on violence against children of 2006 (A/61/299), the Committee recommends that the State party prioritize the elimination of all forms of violence against children establish a comprehensive national framework to protect children and families from violence, provide rehabilitation measures to child victims of violence and prosecute perpetrators of abuse. The Committee further recommends that the State party take into account general comment No. 13 (2011) on the right of the child to freedom from all forms of violence, and in particular:

a) repeal without delay all laws that allow, condone or excuse gender-based violence and violence against children, especially articles 53 and 56 of the Penal Code, and ensure accountability for all forms of violence against children;

b) adopt a comprehensive law that addresses all forms of violence, explicitly prohibits corporal punishment in all settings and includes measures to raise awareness of positive, non-violent and participatory forms of child-rearing;

c) ensure children’s access to justice, including by making the reporting of violence mandatory and by providing legal support and making available child-friendly and confidential complaint mechanisms in institutions, schools, detention centres, hospitals and other relevant settings;

d) ensure the availability and quality of prevention, protection, access to justice, rehabilitation and reintegration programmes, including health services and psychosocial support, free helplines and adequate shelters for victims.

“The Committee is seriously concerned that in spite of its previous recommendation (CRC/C/15/Add.183 para. 33), inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment can still be imposed on children as judicial sanctions. The Committee is particularly concerned that the Law on Juvenile Offenders provides that whipping may be imposed for a child over 16 years for murder, assault and battery as well as alcohol-related offences, theft or illicit sexual intercourse outside marriage.

“With reference to the Committee’s general comment No. 8 (2006) on corporal punishment and general comment No. 13 (2011) on the right of the child to freedom from all forms of violence, the Committee urges the State party to immediately abolish legislation which provides for the imposition of flogging and other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and punishment on children.”

Read more from Session 070 (2015)

Session 030 (2002)

(13 June 2002, CRC/C/15/Add.183, Concluding observations on initial report, paras. 32, 33, 34 and 35)

"Contrary to article 37 (a) of the Convention, the Committee is seriously concerned that there is a possibility that persons under 18 may be subjected to judicial sanctions such as flogging.

"The Committee recommends that the State party take immediate steps to abolish the imposition of flogging and other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and punishment to persons who have committed crimes when they were under 18.

"The Committee is concerned that there is insufficient information and awareness of the ill-treatment of children, including corporal punishment, within the family, schools and institutions.

"The Committee recommends that the State party:

a) conduct a study to assess the nature and extent of ill-treatment and abuse of children, and design policies and programmes to address it;

b) take legislative measures to prohibit all forms of physical and mental violence, including corporal punishment and sexual abuse of children in the family, schools and in institutions;

c) carry out public education campaigns about the negative consequences of ill-treatment of children and promote positive, non-violent forms of discipline as an alternative to corporal punishment…."

Read more from Session 030 (2002)
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