Bahrain child protection bill gets green light
Manama, April 5, 2011
Traders caught selling harmful children's products and operators of unlicensed nurseries and kindergartens could soon be jailed and fined in Bahrain.
The Shura Council has approved prison sentences of at least three months and fines of up to BD2,000 for anyone caught offloading dangerous goods for children.
These can include foods containing unauthorised colourings, additives and preservatives, as well as newborn baby food or milk that does not meet international standards.
The draft child protection bill, which was passed by the Shura Council yesterday after four months of debate, states that all children's products should be approved by the Health Ministry and the Commerce and Industry Ministry.
It also carries fines of up to BD1,000 and prison sentences of up to three years for those operating nurseries and kindergartens without permission from relevant government bodies.
However, the Social Development Ministry would have to apply for an order from the Public Prosecution to close down such places under the draft law, which must now go back to parliament for a final vote.
The 124-article child protection law was approved by the Shura Council yesterday after being debated for 16 continuous sessions over the past four months.
However, councillors will spend next week's session revising articles before forwarding the bill to parliament, which will have the opportunity to make its own amendments after already voting on the law.
Other punishments included in the draft child protection bill include fines of between BD100 and BD500 for distributors of child publications that don't specify age requirements; prison sentences or fines of up to BD2,000 for anyone who provides false information in a child abuse case or hides children to conceal a crime; and unspecified jail sentences for people who target children for immoral reasons through the Internet or other forms of technology.-TradeArabia News Service