Abu Dhabi

Senior officials responsible for development and implementation of the social sector’s agenda in the UAE, as well as thought leaders, came together to discuss frameworks to combat violence and abuse at a panel discussion, titled “Social Work: Inclusiveness and Integration of Roles to Empower Women”. Held at Expo 2020 Dubai, the event was organized by the Abu Dhabi Center for Sheltering and Humanitarian Care - Ewaa, an affiliate of the Department of Community Development (DCD) in Abu Dhabi, in cooperation with the Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation (ADMAF).

Her Excellency Hessa bint Essa Buhumaid, Minister of Community Development, highlighted efforts to improve the quality of women’s life, mentioning that the issue featured prominently in the vision and initiatives of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founding father of the UAE, who said: “My wealth is the happiness of my people”. She pointed out that the wise leadership and the government of the UAE followed his vision and principle, prioritizing happiness and quality of life in the country’s developmental framework. Her Excellency Hessa also shed light on the value and impact of the National Strategy for Wellbeing 2031.

The minister stressed the importance of the directives of Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women's Union (GWU), President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation (FDF), and the Mother of the Nation, in supporting and empowering women through mechanisms that provide protection to them according to an integrated policy. She also noted that the UAE Gender Balance Council, which is chaired by Her Highness Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Women Establishment and wife of His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, plays a vital role in enhancing the protection for women’s rights and ambitions.

H.E. Buhumaid said: “Women in the UAE enjoy full support of the leadership, and there are many programs and initiatives that champion the role of women in society by enhancing protection and empowerment of families, such as the UAE National Family Policy, Family Protection Policy, and “Ta’alouf” initiative for free family counselling, in addition to home and micro enterprises such as Al-Sana'a Project for Emirati Productive Families, which attracts over  2,860 Emirati families. More than 93 per cent of these projects are run by Emirati women. All these facts reflect the leadership’s vision to make the Emirati family stable and ensure enhanced quality of life for all its members. These are indicators of economic and social protection, because social and economic stability begins with women and families.”

H.E. Hessa pointed out to the federal plans to enhance social protection and reduce cases of violence and abuse, saying that the social protection framework in the UAE is based on various policies, laws and legislations that support stability and the best possible quality of life for families and women, and members of society in general. She also discussed the family protection policy, which aims to build a solid social system that protects family members and preserves their rights in a manner that supports the role of women and their active participation in community development.

His Excellency Dr. Mugheer Khamis Al Khaili, Chairman of DCD, emphasized the efforts of Abu Dhabi’s social sector by supporting the role and contribution of women in society, noting that women and families constitute the social, cultural, and economic pillar of society, and that safeguarding women leads to preservation of society. H.E. Dr Al Khaili also stressed that DCD is developing the file on the quality of family life, since it is a priority for the department, as its output would enhance the quality of life for target segments. He mentioned that this year the DCD studied and analysed social challenges to define the key points that would help build policies and initiatives, which will have a bearing on the quality of life, as well as family stability.

H.E. Dr. Al Khaili also discussed the framework to rehabilitate victims of violence and abuse in Abu Dhabi. The plan includes prevention, detection and reportage, as well as provision of the necessary support through treatment, rehabilitation and social reintegration. He also highlighted the efforts to develop a framework for victims of violence and abuse in 2020 for different beneficiary segments, such as women, children, the elderly, and people of determination, in addition to victims of abuse related to social services, financial and health services, and legal and educational services.

Her Excellency Sarah Shuhail, Director General of Abu Dhabi Center for Sheltering and Humanitarian Care - Ewaa, stressed that violence and abuse have become a burden on societies. She called for heightened measures and stronger initiatives to overcome challenges and ensure basic services for violence survivors. She also suggested that sharper focus be put on prevention, and collection of data that can provide a proper direction to offering social services to victims.

H.E. Shuhail, said: “Thanks to the efforts of our wise leadership and the noble values that we derived from the founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and our regional and international position in the humanitarian action, the UAE’s government ecosystem continues to preserve its humanitarian position in collaboration with its stakeholders, and we renew our commitment to advancing these great values.”

Ewaa organized several panel discussions throughout the day involving experts and thought leaders to raise awareness and highlight the next steps to combat violence and abuse.

An educational artwork, titled ‘Bowling Pins’, was opened at the Jubilee District at Expo 2020 Dubai. The artwork was created by survivors of human trafficking, who received support from the centre as part of its rehabilitation programs and treatment through art. The work highlights, through voice explanations, the experiences of survivors to raise awareness about the importance of humanitarian action. 

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