Children rights are among the foremost priorities of human rights in the sultanate. Children are entitled to care, and in this context, the sultanate has in recent years ratified the International Convention on Children, in addition to enacting the necessary legislation to protect children, foremost of which is the Child Law.
In 2020, the Oman Human rights Commission (OHRC) followed up a number of child abuse and negligence cases which had emerged despite all the efforts made by various governmental and private sectors to confront the problem.
‘OHRC, which recognises the importance of ensuring a child’s right to life and care, has dedicated space on its website to display videos to raise awareness on this subject. OHRC also maintains communication with the relevant government agencies to reinforce the regulations to safeguard rights,’ OHRC said in its annual report 2020.
‘OHRC monitored a number of children’s drowning incidents, the first of which was on March 28, 2020. It claimed the lives of two children in the wilayat of Khabourah, North Batinah governorate. On May 26, 2020, in the wilayat of Mudhaibi, North Sharqiyah governorate, another drowning accident claimed the lives of three,’ the OHRC report said.
‘The third incident was on July 1, 2020, that led to the death of a child in the wilayat of Saham, North Batinah, and the fourth on July 28, 2020, in the wilayat of Rustaq, South Batinah, that resulted in the death of a 15-year-old girl,’ the report added.
On July 9, 2020, OHRC monitored a report on 707 child abuse cases notified through the Child Protection Line. Coordination has been maintained with the competent authorities to study appropriate solutions to deal with these reports.
On May 11, 2020, OHRC was notified about an eight-year-old child selling on a public road in Muscat governorate in inappropriate conditions and without his parents’ supervision. Measures were taken in accordance with the Child Law in coordination with the concerned parties in the Family Protection Department.
As part of its responsibility and involvement with issues related to the rights of children, the OHRC followed up a press report published by a local newspaper on the Child Protection Line that receives communications about child abuse.
The report pointed to the increase in the number of registered cases compared to 2018. Accordingly, the OHRC team met the staff of the Family Protection Department at the Ministry of Social Development to discuss the issue, find out causes and proper solutions.
OHRC said that Oman has guaranteed the rights of the elderly in various ways and it enacts laws that regulate the implementation of these rights through relevant institutions.
As part of the interest in and follow up of this important demographic group, OHRC monitored on May 21, 2020, a video clip that was circulated in social media about an elderly citizen in a difficult situation. ‘The old man was living with a foster family that was not caring for him,’ OHRC said.
After the investigation, it became clear that the foster family was not committed to providing the necessary care and did not provide a suitable place for the elderly man although it was receiving a fee for his care from the Ministry of Social Development. Subsequently, OHRC contacted the ministry, which immediately shifted the elderly person, after getting his approval, to the Social Welfare Home in the wilayat of Rustaq.