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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 4 March 2021

Stronger sex-offender registry sought

National list would include information from other countries to prevent offenders from being employed here.

DUBAI // The details of sex offenders from around the globe may be incorporated in the UAE's sex-offenders registry to prevent expatriates with records from gaining employment. 

"It is important to be able to track serious sex offenders coming from other countries, especially in the UAE context, as many teachers and other professional executives are recruited from abroad and the lack of any information on people could mean that a sex offender can be working as a teacher here," said Major Faisal al Shamari, the rapporteur of the Higher Committee for Protection of Children, during a forum on the protection of youth from crimes committed using information and communication technology.

"We will be reviewing the procedures of granting visas for sex offenders as part of the proposal currently under study," he said. "Such initiatives are necessary," said Graham Penson, a spokesman for Dubai College. He added that the move would support his institution's efforts to ensure the safety of its student body. The nationwide sex offenders' registry, which is being compiled by the higher committee, wants to keep records on any person convicted of a sex crime, especially those committed against children, for a minimum of 10 years.

Among the information to be included in the registry is the name of the offender, their residential and work addresses, and biometric data, such as retina scans and face profiles. Individuals on the list would be required to inform authorities of any changes to their data within 10 days. Dr Lori Schwab, a consultant and psychotherapist who is seeking to start a child-protection group at Al Ain Hospital, said that sexual offenders often repeated their crimes.

"Any initiative which would protect children is welcomed, and to have a nationwide sex-offender registry is important," she said. "Getting information on [other] sex offenders would be a huge advantage." Maj al Shamari said the incorporation of data from other registries could be achieved through agreements with individual countries or through Interpol notices Lt General Dahi Khalfan Tamim, the Dubai police chief, said that while many crimes target children, one of the most dangerous was cybercrime. 

"The available data and what is being reported in the media does not reflect the reality and the huge number of victims," he said.

wissa@thenational.ae

Published: October 6, 2010 04:00 AM

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