New regulations strengthen child protection law

Muscat: A new set of executive regulations, which are add-on to the existing Child Protection Law, was issued by Shaikh Mohammed bin Saeed bin Saif al Kalbani, Minister of Social Development, on Sunday. The new regulations are based on a Ministerial Decision 25/2019, which was published in the Official Gazette on Sunday.

According to the new regulations that public and private educational institutions must provide medical aid and have a qualified nurse to do so, as well as maintain a health record for each child, and commit to implement school health programmes approved by the Ministry of Health and provide safety and security for children.

“No examination or therapeutic intervention of the child shall be made in health institutions without the presence of a companion, except in cases of emergency determined by the doctor on duty,” says Article 5 Baby food and breastfeeding tools shall comply with the approved standard specifications, in line with the breastfeeding policy formulated by the competent authority.

EXPOSURE OF MEDIA

Article 7 says that the audio, visual and reading materials presented to the child shall be compatible with the child’s personality and mental abilities and in accordance with Islamic law, higher human values and the culture of Oman Article 8 states that when displaying or selling books or publications to children, the libraries, clubs and cultural centres are obliged to not to expose the child to the audio or visuals that support sectarianism, rejection or intolerance other religion or sects; discrimination on the basis of sex, language, colour, religion or nationality; glorification or encourage any kind of violence or crime.

Article 9 states that the approval of the Ministry of Information must be obtained before the screening of films intended for children, which shall in accordance with Islamic law, the customs and traditions of Omani society. Cinemas houses should clearly specify the age limit for viewing a particular film.

The child may only be employed in agricultural, fishing, industrial, handicraft and administrative works, provided that he works within the same family, which includes the father, mother, grandfather, grandmother and siblings. The law also lists traditional practices that harm the child which includes female genital mutilation.

NURSERIES

The law for children protection also issues guidelines that regulate the operations of nurseries. Article 128 says that the nursery may be closed by a decision of the competent authority for a period not exceeding three months if there is a danger to the safety of the children, or if there is a change in the conditions or specifications of the nursery in violation of the provisions of this regulation.

Article 129 says that an administrative fine of not less than RO1,000 and not more than RO5,000 shall be imposed on anyone who set up a nursery school without a license. Article 130 states that an administrative fine of not less than RO500 and not more than RO1,000 shall be imposed on anyone who unlawfully retains a child of unknown father or parents, without the knowledge of the competent authority.

Article 131 states that an administrative fine of not less than RO500 and not more than RO1,000 shall be imposed on the licensee in case of violating the provisions stipulated in these regulations. following a written warning to him correct the violation within 15 days.

FOSTER CHILDREN WELFARE

Article 72 of the Child Protection Law issues guidelines for the welfare of children in foster families.

Article 73 applies to children born in the Sultanate to unknown parents. The court will decide the parentage of children — whether Omani father or mother.

Article 75 states that the childcare home shall take care of the orphans and children deprived of the care of parents or relatives up to the fourth degree.

Article 76 states that the decision of the Minister shall be issued regarding the controls and procedures of the sponsorship system.

Article 77 states that it is prohibited for any person to accept any children without following the procedures.

Article 78 states that it is prohibited to marry a girl who has not attained eighteen 18 years of age.

Article 79 states that the foster child shall be re-registered (in the name of his or her proven relatives) and be included in his or her custody unless the foster child’s best interest requires that he or she remain in the foster or family home.

Article 80 states that adopted child shall enjoy the same rights as the child in his or her natural family, such as the right to receive privileges and facilities granted to his or her peers in natural families and all other rights in a manner not inconsistent with the provisions of Islamic law.

Article 81 states that the foster family’s care for the child ends in the following cases:

1) Following a reasonable request of the foster family after the approval of the competent authority.

2) If the child has been subjected to violence, exploitation or abuse by the foster family.

3) If the custodian dies or missing for a long period.

4) In case of separation of the spouses, unless the competent authority considers the custody of the child to one of them.

5) If the best interest of the child so requires.

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