Top of­fi­cial dis­cusses is­sue of dumped new­borns

7 Days in Dubai - - NEWS - Writes Nawal Al Ramahi.

our ba­bies have been aban­doned in Shar­jah in the past two months alone,

The dis­cov­er­ies of new­borns (two of which were found dead) has put the is­sue back in the spot­light once again, and high­lighted the des­per­ate sit­u­a­tion far too many women in the UAE find them­selves in.

A Shar­jah Po­lice of­fi­cial said: “A new­born girl was found aban­doned on Ja­mal Ab­dul Nasser Road on Au­gust 11. Another new­born boy was found on a rooftop in the Al Ra­mal­lah area on July 15.

“The body of a dead new­born baby was found in a sewage pipe in Shar­jah Free Zone and a de­com­posed body of a new­born baby was found in a con­struc­tion area in Al Mosla in July.”

The man in charge of child pro­tec­tion in the emi­rate has voiced his con­cern, telling 7DAYS that many women panic when faced with the con­se­quences of the law after fall­ing preg­nant while un­mar­ried in the UAE.

The crime of get­ting preg­nant out­side of wed­lock car­ries a prison sen­tence of up to 12 months and de­por­ta­tion for mother and baby.

Ahmed Al Tar­tour, Di­rec­tor of the Pro­tec­tion of Chil­dren’s Rights at Shar­jah So­cial Ser­vices, said: “Those who re­sort to such a prac­tice are ei­ther un­e­d­u­cated, poor or seek­ing a bet­ter life for their chil­dren in the UAE.”

He added that the is­sue of aban­doned ba­bies is a prob­lem and urged women be re­spon­si­ble.

Al Tar­tour said: “Chil­dren found by po­lice are sent to the child care shel­ters. Of­fi­cials in charge of these shel­ters di­vide them into four cat­e­gories; chil­dren of un­known par­ents, chil­dren of known moth­ers, chil­dren of de­tained women and child victims of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence. All cases of aban­doned chil­dren are re­viewed by a com­mit­tee.”

The com­mit­tee also looks at find­ing a suit­able home for aban­doned chil­dren, who are treated as or­phans. If the search for the bi­o­log­i­cal par­ents proves to be point­less, the au­thor­i­ties en­able the ba­bies to be taken in by Emi­rati or ex­pat fam­i­lies.

Cou­ples who want to be­come guardians pf an aban­doned child are re­viewed by child pro­tec­tion cen­tre com­mit­tees. Then a court re­views their case and is­sues a no ob­jec­tion cer­tifi­cate.

Al Tar­tour said: “The Child Pro­tec­tion De­part­ment has the right to give the child to un­mar­ried, di­vorced or wid­owed women whose age is not less than 30, or more than 50.

“The fam­ily that is will­ing to em­brace the child has the right to give the child its first name, while the judge will give the father’s fam­ily and tribe name.

“The doc­u­ments is­sued to the child should not show that he or she is an il­le­git­i­mate child.”

One woman who would like to care for an aban­doned baby spoke to 7DAYS.

The 40-year-old Filipino, who asked to re­main anony­mous, said: “I’m con­sid­er­ing adopt­ing a child. I’ve met a Filipino woman, in her 20s, who has given birth to a girl out of the wed­lock.

“She gave birth at home and the father is of an Arab na­tion­al­ity. He fled the coun­try.

“The girl is now one-month-old. How­ever, the girl has no doc­u­ments at all and that’s why I didn’t con­tinue with the adop­tion pro­ce­dures.”

Mean­while, lawyer Bar­ney Al­mazar, whose le­gal prac­tice Gulf Law works with the Philip­pines Em­bassy, said that fear was the main cause in the cases he has dealt with. He said: “I have dealt with 12 cases of un­mar­ried preg­nant woman and moth­ers since the be­gin­ning of this year.

“Those moth­ers didn’t give birth at hos­pi­tals be­cause they fear go­ing to jail and be­ing de­ported.”

He said that when a woman is preg­nant in the UAE the au­thor­i­ties check her and her hus­band’s pass­port.

Al­mazar said: “I have wit­nessed a sit­u­a­tion where a Filipino mother aban­doned her child to a Filipino fam­ily.

“This child has been mov­ing from one Filipino fam­ily to another and she’s now seven years old. The girl doesn’t have any doc­u­ments.

“There­fore, she can’t be en­rolled in school.”

DUMPED: A baby aban­doned in Shar­jah

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