Jawaher Al Qasimi praises UAE’s wise leadership for supporting children’s rights and cancer patients

Sharjah: H.H. Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Wife of H.H. the Ruler of Sharjah and Chairperson of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs, has praised the UAE’s wise leadership for ensuring the rights of children and supporting patients with cancer.

She extended her profound thanks to President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, for their ongoing commitment to both groups of people, who each require support and assistance in different ways.

Sheikha Jawaher’s tributes coincided with the issuance of Federal Law No. 03 of 2016 on child rights, also known as ?Wadeema’s Law’, by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, as well as the announcement by the Ministry of Health and Prevention to implement the Cabinet’s initiative for the early detection of the three common types of cancer; breast cancer, cervical cancer and colorectal cancer.

She stressed that the UAE has made great strides in the area of child protection thanks to the support of the leadership, which has issued this law to combine the local legal framework with international treaties and conventions on child rights.

“The issuance of the child rights law was one of the most important demands called for by the Supreme Council for Family Affairs and Children’s Centres. This demand stems from our firm belief in the law’s significant role in ensuring the safety of our children’s growth and providing them with the appropriate environment and protection against all forms of discrimination, including those based on gender and disability. The law is imperative to ensure that children are provided with protection, including non-discrimination and the prohibition of corporal punishment, or any form of inhumane treatment,” Sheikha Jawaher explained.

Sheikha Jawaher emphasised that Sharjah’s vision for children’s rights and its experience in this context goes beyond children living in the UAE. “Sharjah has strived to ensure that refugee children and adolescents in regions afflicted by conflict and strife enjoy international protection and have their best interests taken as a primary consideration in all matters affecting their well-being and future,” she said.

This vision materialised in the ?Sharjah Principles’ that were the fruits of the ?Investing in the Future: Protecting Refugee Children and Adolescents in the Middle East and North Africa Conference,’ which was organised by the Big Heart Foundation in 2014.

The Sharjah Principles stipulate that all refugee children should be registered and documented at birth in their countries of asylum. They should also have the right to family unity and enjoy protection from separation. The principles also state that refugee children should receive a quality education in a safe environment that supports their developmental needs, as well as be protected against violence, abuse and exploitation, including child labour. Under the Sharjah Principles, all refugee children should have access to national systems and services, including health and psychosocial support.

Due to the importance of the Sharjah Principles, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, UNHCR, has circulated them to all countries, with the stipulations under the principles to be implemented with its supervision.

Al Qasimi said that she appreciated the efforts made by the Ministry of Health and Prevention to put the wise leadership’s vision into practice with regards to raising awareness about cancer. “These efforts include the provision of screening tests for early detection of the disease – a move that comes within the country’s comprehensive strategy that aims to ensure a healthy life for every member of the UAE community.”

Sharjah has dedicated significant energy to the fight against cancer at the nation-wide level. These efforts have seen the launch of numerous initiatives, most notably the Friends of Cancer Patients, FoCP, and the Pink Caravan. “Through these activities, we have been able to provide treatment to hundreds of patients. We have also raised awareness about the disease and the importance of its early detection among thousands of people. Our experience in fighting cancer has led to the passing of formal legislation that is aimed at fighting and eliminating the disease. We are delighted that our wise leadership did not hesitate to approve the law that ensures free early detection screenings for citizens to promote their welfare, happiness and wellness,” Sheikha Jawaher said.

Sheikha Jawaher Al Qasimi founded FoCP in 1999, with the charity dedicated to spreading awareness around the six forms of early detectable carcinoma; breast cancer, cervical cancer, prostate cancer, testicular cancer, colon cancer and skin cancer. It fights against these forms under the umbrella of its ?Kashf’ programme, which was launched by FoCP with the aim of providing free early detection screenings and offering treatment payment for patients.

Since its inception, FoCP has provided financial and moral support to more than 1,380 male and female cancer patients across the UAE. Through its Pink Caravan initiative launched in 2010, the organisation has been able to achieve landmark results in promoting awareness about the importance of early detection of breast cancer and dispelling misconceptions surrounding the disease. Pink Caravan has so far offered free screenings to 41,356 women, as well as men, of all nationalities and ages in the country.