Wed 22-02-2017 23:24 PM

UAE spares no efforts to protect and provide dignified life to children: Minister

PARIS, 22nd February, 2017 (WAM) -- The United Arab Emirates (UAE) spares no efforts to protect and provide dignified life to children, said Dr. Maytha bint Salem Al Shamsi, UAE Minister of State, and noted that President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan had issued the UAE’s new Child Protection Law No. 3 - popularly known as the Wadeema Law - that came into effect in June 2016.

Al Shamsi made the remarks in a speech delivered at the Paris International Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Children in Armed Conflicts, held on Tuesday by France and the United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on Monday, the 10th anniversary of the Paris Commitments to end the use of children in conflict.

According to the United Nations, about 250 million children across the world are affected by conflicts, Al Shamsi noted, while stressing the UAE’s commitment to protecting children, added Al Shamsi, who led the UAE delegation that included senior officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

Wadeema law seeks to protect children from negligence, abandonment and sexual abuse, she said.

"Due to economic, social and security pressures, thousands of children end up carrying arms and participate in fighting. They are being used to back rebel and armed groups, to carry supplies and ammunition and even injured soldiers, gather military intelligence and conduct reconnaissance missions, cook and sometimes they are sexually abused or used as human shields," the UAE Minister said and noted that recently more children were used to carry out suicide attacks.

The UN member states should change their policies to protect children from being recruited in war, she said.

"In the 21st century, this fragile social segment cannot survive without minimum protection from such acts," Minister Al Shamsi added.

Paris International Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Children in Armed Conflicts was held to look at ways of continuing mobilisation of international efforts to protect children during conflicts.

This included a call for the unconditional release of all children, without exception, and putting an end to child recruitment, while increasing resources to help reintegrate and educate children who have been released, and taking urgent action to protect internally displaced children, child refugees and migrants.

French President Francois Hollande also gave a speech at the conference and noted that his country offered about ?100 million in 2015 and 2016 to support these efforts.

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