First Children’s forum hosted – calls for national leaders to address social issues
DPI, Guyana, Monday, November 20, 2017
The prevalence of social issues in all regions of Guyana is likely to be addressed in a swift manner as children representing schools and communities in various regions across the country, took the opportunity to voice their concerns at the first Children’s Forum held today.
The event, in observance of Universal Children’s Day, was hosted by the Childcare and Protection Agency (CPA) through the Ministry of Social Protection in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
Children under the age of 12 expressed their views through various artistic forms including dance, spoken word, dramatic poetry, and skits.
Most of the issues which were highlighted fell under the purview of the Ministry of Social Protection and included domestic violence, physical and sexual abuse, child abandonment and neglect among other things. Infrastructural upgrades and better access to education were also mentioned.
Several ministers of government paid keen attention to the children as they portrayed life in their various communities.
President David Granger, who attended the event noted that that the children – Guyana’s future leaders – can be assured that those in the government today will positively pave the way for them to follow.
“You (the children) have to take over this country, ten years from now, 20 years from now and we are very happy that you are so articulate. Some of the criticisms are a little painful but it means that the adults here will take note and try to make things better for you,” President Granger explained.
In keeping with Article 13 of the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child, to which Guyana is a signatory, this initiative was sought after to provide an opportunity for children to exercise the right to freedom of expression.
According to the Act, this includes “the liberty to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds regardless of frontiers either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art or through any other media of the child’s choice.”
Minister of Social Protection, Amna Ally commended the Childcare and Protection Agency for the initiative. She observed that the medium gives children an equal opportunity to voice their concerns.
“We certainly take note of all the things that they have been saying and we also take note hence we are going to be making, we are going to be taking action based on recommendations that they have made this is a very serious forum.”
The event was hosted at Georgetown Ramada Princess, under the theme “The Voices of Our Children: Standing Strong and Speaking Out.”
By: Delicia Haynes
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