Mothers in United Arab Emirates ‘forced to breastfeed’ or face being sued under new legistlation

Breastfeeding might not be a matter of choice for women in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) if a new law is passed, requiring mothers to breastfeed their children for 2 years.


by Fiona Day |
Published on

A new law was passed earlier this year- titled the Child’s Rights Law- and states that it is the child’s right to be breastfed, meaning that breastfeeding is mandatory in the state.

The breastfeeding clause was added to the Child’s Rights Law after the legislation was put up for review.

According to the MailOnline, the council that reviewed the law said that it was a woman’s ‘duty’ to breastfeed as opposed to an option.

Women in Dubai may faced being sued if they don't breastfeed.
Women in Dubai may faced being sued if they don't breastfeed.

The law came off the back of research that showed the benefits of breastfeeding.

It is not yet clear how the state will support women who are unable to breastfeed due to medical reasons.

The UAE’s minister of Social Affairs, Miriam Al Roumi, spoke out against the law, saying that it would enable men to sue their wives if they chose to or weren’t able to comfortably breastfeed.

She told The National: ‘this part of the law can be a burden… If the law forced women to breastfeed, this could lead to new court cases.’

The law was backed by research that revealed the benefits of breastfeeding but didn't take into account the health of the mother.

A group based in Dubai that supports women with post-natal depression has also spoken out against mandatory breastfeeding.

A spokesperson said: ‘As a group we wholeheartedly agree that breastfeeding should be encouraged and that the sentiment is a good one that clearly follows international guidelines.’

They continued: 'however, as many of the new mothers we encounter are already under significant pressure, we are concerned that enacting a law that leaves mothers facing potential punishment could be a step too far.’

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