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09 Nov, 2021

Rym bint Abdulla Al Falasy: The children of the UAE have their rights guaranteed by the constitution, law, and reality

In her opening speech, a symposium on forced marriage for girls in the Arab region

The League of Arab States held a symposium on early and forced marriage for girls in the Arab region, in partnership with the United Nations Population Fund. It was attended by Her Excellency Rym bint Abdulla Al Falasy, Secretary-General of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, President of the 25th session of the Arab Childhood Committee, Ambassador Dr. Haifa Abu Ghazaleh, Assistant Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, Head of the Social Affairs Sector, Mr. Louay Shabana, Regional Director of the United Nations Population Fund, and several representatives Entities concerned with childhood in member states and regional and international organizations concerned with child rights issues in the Arab region.

The symposium aims to complete the work with partners, especially the United Nations Population Fund, to curb the phenomenon of child marriage, by preparing a study on early and forced marriage for girls in the Arab region and issuing recommendations that will achieve unified Arab efforts to eliminate harmful practices and discrimination against girls and provide them with decent life opportunities. In addition to urging member states to reduce this phenomenon, and to come up with an analytical framework on the issue of early and forced marriage for girls.

The symposium reviewed a working paper on “Child Marriage in the Arab Region: Reality and Hope”, in addition to reviewing “national efforts of member states on best practices to reduce early and forced marriage of girls”.

Secretary-General said in her opening speech that the issue of early or forced marriage has been bypassed by some Arab countries in reality and law, and others still need executive tools to match the law with reality, so it has become imperative for everyone, whether international, regional or national organizations to search for other formulas to expand the definition of the best interest of children stipulated in the International Convention on the Rights of the Child and decided by national laws and strategies for childhood with the reality experienced by some regions of the world in light of wars and conflicts.



Al Falasy added that human history has also witnessed many impressive successes and leaps and witnessed some failures, including the issue of early and forced marriage of girls, which is a crime in every sense of the word. The United Arab Emirates, like other countries, has been affected by extraneous concepts that have been interpreted so that they have become a burden on us as a society. However, the blessing of our rulers who knew at an early stage the true value of women and the necessity of caring for and nurturing them from their early childhood. They found that the best ways for change and development are to develop and change the thinking of their children and appeal to their conscious minds, and from here the founding father Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan - may God bless him Richness - stresses the importance of education and cooperation between women and men for the advancement of Emirati society.

Secretary-General pointed out that Her Highness Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak, the mother of the Emirates was and still is an inspiration to many women, as her role was not limited to only a mother and wife, but she took it upon herself to support Sheikh Zayed in his vision of the Emirates, and therefore she worked to educate and encourage young women to learn, work, and develop, as she guaranteed their rights. 

The Secretary-General of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood made it clear that the United Arab Emirates attaches great importance to childhood and motherhood by integrating the needs of this group with its national strategies and government work programs. This confirms the UAE’s endeavor to achieve a safe life for children as evidenced by international reports on the de facto and legal status of childhood in it, such as the reports of the Committee on Combating All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the report of the International Committee on the Rights of the Child on the International Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Lulwa Al-Awadi, Legal Adviser to the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, stressed during her review of the efforts of the UAE, the state's keenness to consider the best interests of the child from various health, social, psychological, and cultural aspects, and to provide all aspects of care and protection for him. Al-Awadi pointed out that early or forced marriage is not considered a phenomenon in the United Arab Emirates, as the state takes several aspects in this field in terms of legislation, general trends, policies, and programs directed to the community to preserve it from this phenomenon, which is represented in the state's empowerment of women and its support for active participation in society. Encouraging them to continue their education and the community’s culture and awareness of the negative effects of early marriage prevents the existence of such negative phenomena. Legal Adviser reviewed some of the qualitative initiatives undertaken by the Council Including the National Strategy for Motherhood and Childhood 2017-2021, the Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Award for Motherhood and Childhood, and the establishment of the Consultative Council for Children, in addition to the establishment of the first Emirati parliament for children under an agreement signed by the Supreme Council for Motherhood for Childhood with the Federal National Council of the state.

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