Call for action on baby dumping in the UAE

Social workers call for tough measures as child abandonment cases increase in the UAE.
The Community By Shayantani Sinha
Published on January 1, 2014
abandoned child

The UAE continues to witness the horror of hapless children being dumped by their callous parents alongside roads, mosques, hospitals and homes.
Media reports alone show that 36 children were abandoned across the country in recent years, not counting the cases that go unreported. Last year in November, a newborn girl was discovered outside a Sharjah apartment, the fourth such baby to have been dumped in the UAE over the last few weeks.
She was found by a tenant in the apartment block when he heard her crying. In the same month, a girl was found in a garbage bin in Ras Al Khaimah.
This came close on the heels of the discovery of a newborn boy found at a public toilet in Ras Al Khaimah and a one-day-old girl in Sharjah.

Last month, two cases were reported within two weeks. A three-month old baby girl was abandoned in Global Village, Dubai on December 6. Days later, a newborn boy was discovered in a prayer room at Saqr Hospital in Ras Al Khaimah. April 2012 saw four dumping cases. On April 23, a Filipina housemaid was arrested for trying to kill her newborn baby by throwing him in the garbage chute of a Sharjah building. The other three instances were reported in the first week alone: a week-old infant found at the entrance of a Sharjah villa on April 7; a two-month-old girl abandoned outside a public park in Sharjah on April 5, and a five-month-old boy found in a stroller in Sharjah on April 3. A newborn girl was found abandoned outside an Ajman mosque on March 18 while an infant girl was discovered outside a Sharjah villa on March 6.

Social workers and NGOs have called for tough measures to check this trend and have stressed the need for greater awareness among residents. Joseph Bobby, Vice-President of Valley of Love, said: “We see so many cases because people are afraid of the legal implications of their actions as invariably such children are born out of illegal relationships. If the woman is arrested, tests are done to confirm the parentage of the child and the woman is allowed to take the child back home when she is deported.” He said in most cases the male partner absconds and the woman, left to fend for herself, becomes desperate. “She has violated the law and she is afraid of the repercussions in her family and society. So she dumps the child as she perceives it to be the only way out.” Social worker Umarani Padmanabhan said: “Dumping children is an act of cowardice and brutality. We need tough measures to check this trend. At this rate, we may need cameras around garbage bins so that the culprits are caught and punished. Hospitals and clinics should demand marriage certificates from women coming for check-ups. It will help prevent people from getting into illegal relationships and giving birth to children they cannot raise.”

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