Saturday, November 29, 2008

Oman Committed to Curbing Human Trafficking, Abuse of Children

From the Khaleej Times Online:

MUSCAT – Oman, which recently set up a Human Rights Commission, has reiterated its commitment to curbing trafficking in humans and sexual exploitation of children.

Social Development Minister Dr Sharifa bint Khalfan Al Yahya’eeya, extending her country’s wholehearted cooperation to the global drive against the menaces, also revealed that the government had formed working teams to survey the Sultanate’s regions and review the conditions of children and families with the aim of drawing up a ‘rapid intervention plan’. 

“The Omani society vehemently opposes all forms of sexual exploitation because it contradicts with the values and traditions of the Omani society as well as the teachings of Islam,” she said.

She was addressing delegates at the ‘World Congress Against Sexual Exploitation of Children and Adolescents’ in Rio de Janeiro on Friday.

She said the Sultanate considered a strong family as the first line of defence against sexual exploitation of children, adding that the Basic Law of the State guaranteed the dignity of all citizens and residents and protected them against violence and exploitation, regardless of their age, ethnic background or religion. 

The laws in force in the Sultanate, Dr Sharifa said, prohibited all forms of sexual exploitation of children, slavery and trade, possession or promotion of pornographic materials.

“The first draft of the Child Law is currently under revision by the departments concerned as well as NGOs,” she added.

She said the ministry had constituted working teams to survey all the Sultanate’s regions and assess the conditions of children and families and prepare a rapid intervention action plan.

Dr Sharifa observed that the Internet is being used at a global level to destroy the lives of millions of children through the “propagation of the sex business which keeps luring children to the making and distribution of pornographic materials”.

She said the Rio de Janeiro congress must be considered as an important step in efforts to realise children’s rights.

Five major themes are being addressed by the congress — forms of commercial sexual exploitation and the emerging scenarios in this respect; international trafficking; child pornography on the Internet, sexual exploitation of children and adolescents in tourism; and sexual exploitation of children and adolescents in prostitution.

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