No time to lose for 'Wadeema's Law'
The UAE has to withstand a fair amount of criticism from some countries and organisations over human rights.
Some times these criticisms are justified and sometimes they are not.
However, one thing the UAE has proven is that it takes rights seriously, be it of nationals, expats, men, women, young and old.
The recent moves to improve the rights of domestic workers is one example.
And another is 'Wadiyma's Law', as new draft child protection legislation has been dubbed.
Two weeks ago, UAE Vice-President and Prime Minister HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said such law was needed to protect children like eight-year-old Wadiyma, whose tortured and abused body was found buried in the desert, and her seven-year-old sister Meyra, who has been taken into care and treated for her own injuries. Police believe they were physically abused by their father and his lover, who are now facing criminal proceedings.
Sheikh Mohammed, the Ruler of Dubai, personally visited Meyra in Latifa Hospital in Dubai on the day that he made his remarks.
Two weeks on, the federal government has announced it has included his recommendations for tougher penalties for child abuse and child negligence into a draft law, which will go before the Cabinet this week.
Let's be clear about what has happened here. In the space of two weeks, a problem has been identified, addressed and the law is on the verge of being changed. In many countries, that sort of legislative change might take two years, if not longer.
Let's hope the UAE's critics take note, and, more importantly, the law is brought into power without any delay so that others do not suffer the same tragic fate of Wadiyma.
Simon Pluckrose is Head of News at Al Sidra Media LLC, which publishes 7DAYSinDubai.com, 7DAYSinAbuDhabi.com and the newspaper 7DAYS