munaThe National Assembly recently issued a law aimed at protecting children from possible abuse or violations by family members or others. The law slots kids into various categories according to age and each pattern has been classified. I’ve seen the articles of the law and consider them fairly good.

Now we have a law to activate its articles, but I am worried over ways of implementation and follow-up to provide maximum protection for the child, especially regarding physical abuse at the hands of parents, relatives and maids. According to the law, this particular issue of physical abuse has a good share of treatment options and suggestions.

But the problem is that such problems are rarely detected or spoken publicly, because a person who abuses a child will not expose himself, while the child does not understand written laws but understands what is in front of him or her.

The child understands the code of society – that you cannot talk about any harm to your body because of the customs and traditions and possible mocking by others or punishment if the abuser is a parent or close relative. But this has nothing to do with any tradition or religion.

It is culture and ignorance that deprive children of knowledge of their rights, the detection of any problems they might be exposed to and asking for help. The first condition for any real application of the law is to recognize that we as a society are not immune to such problems and that cases of violence within the family against children mean we need to save the children sometimes even from their own parents.

We want a preventive program because the protection of the child is not only against violence or drugs, but a child can be beaten and deprived within the family home. We want this issue to become the issue of public opinion, because what could happen may be unimaginable. There are numerous kinds of violations such as forcing children to sell stuff on the street, which is often at the hands of parents or relatives. Such an act is illegal because it has many risks.

Article 47 of the law prohibits child employment in jobs that put their health, safety or morals at risk. No one can say that the street is a safe environment. We as members of society and the media are obliged to call for the protection of these kids. It’s a really sad scene to see kids selling tissue boxes or small toys at traffic lights while moving from one vehicle to another or sitting curbside and selling day-old watermelons, often spending long hours in the heat.

This article aims to talk about the rights of these kids as human beings, who possibly get exposed to drug dealers or criminals or even verbal violence, and we must say something about this. A dinar will not solve this child’s problem. A child does not need a set of “locked drawer” laws, but wants laws that facilitate safety and security from any kind of possible harm for the benefit of all children, because the problem lies in the activation of this law and not the way it is written.

By Muna Al-Fuzai