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Dh1 million fine, 10-year jail for leaving child in car in UAE

The punishment falls under the UAE's Child Rights Law.

A person held responsible for causing the death or endangering a child's life by leaving the child in a locked vehicle can be penalised with a fine of up to Dh1 million and no less than 10 years' imprisonment, lawyers have warned.

The punishment falls under the UAE's Child Rights Law - or Wadeema's Law - which aims to protect the rights of children, especially their mental, physical and emotional well-being.

The warning comes on heels of a number of incidents this month, where children were left behind in closed vehicles.

"Here we are talking about Federal Law No. 3 of 2016, which is the Child Rights Law (Wadeema's Law). Article 33 of this law talks about child exposure to rejection, neglect and homelessness - it's about endangering a child's mental, moral or physical health," said Haytham Alieh, partner and head of the local litigation team at DWF Middle East.

"Article 34 of the same law says it is prohibited to endanger a child's psychological and moral integrity through the abandonment of the child through his or her custodian. The custodian is defined as the person who is legally liable of the child or who was entrusted with the child's care.

 

"Based on another article of the law, whoever violates Articles 11,28, 34 and 35 shall be punished by imprisonment and fined Dh5,000. The punishment increases depending on the damage caused on the child. The penalty can reach up to Dh1 million, with no less than 10 years of imprisonment."

Another lawyer, Rini Agarwal, senior associate at STA Law Firm, said: "Wadeema's Law also makes provisions for the protection of children's welfare.

"It provides that children have the basic right to live and stay safe from any kind of neglect and all other kinds of abuse. Article 58 of the law states that all competent authorities and entities shall protect children from traffic and road accidents as per the Federal Traffic Law Number 21 of 1995."

When asked who can be held responsible in a case as such, Agarwal said: "It shall be the responsibility of the person taking the care of the child at that point of time."

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