Students urged to raise their voices against acts of violence

GINA, GUYANA, Monday, November 21, 2016

Chairperson of the Rights of the Child Commission, Aleema Nasir

Chairperson of the Rights of the Child Commission, Aleema Nasir

Minister of Public Telecommunications, Catherine Hughes today, urged students to speak out against acts of violence they witness so that perpetrators will be made to face the law.

“It’s not somebody else’s responsibility, it’s yours, it’s mine and it’s each of ours, and if we come with that perspective, I know for sure we will create this fantastic space called Guyana,” Minister Hughes said.

The Minister was at the time addressing students at a workshop organised by the Rights of the Child Commission (RCC) in observance of the 27th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) today, at Herdmanston Lodge, Georgetown.

Guyana ratified the CRC 25 years ago.

A section of school children who participated in a workshop to mark the 27th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child

A section of school children who participated in a workshop to mark the 27th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child

RCC’s Chairperson, Aleema Nasir, said that the Commission has been working with law enforcement in the areas of juvenile justice, and cases of abuse and neglect. The RCC signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and roadmap with the Guyana Police Force (GPF) earlier this year which Nasir said is critical to the protection of children.

“The role of the police, both in the area of juvenile justice and cases of abuse and neglect, is indispensible to these protection rights,” Nasir said.

The RCC has been facilitating training of police officers in Lethem, Bartica, Suddie and Georgetown on their role in juvenile justice and in cases of abuse and neglect.

United Nations Children’s Fund Representative, Paolo Marchie

United Nations Children’s Fund Representative, Paolo Marchi

“The persons who were engaged, they now have a better idea how it is that they (are) supposed to handle children, what they should do as a first response and they are the first response when anything goes wrong, and we’re confident that things will change after our engagement with as many police as possible,” Nasir told the Government Information Agency (GINA).

Representative of the United Nations Children’s Fund’s (UNICEF), Paolo Marchi praised the current government for its commitment “to improving Guyanese children’s lives.” Marchi noted that, “very important” progress has been made in the areas of education, access to education, reduction in child mortality rates and improving nutrition.”

However, Marchi pointed out that more efforts are needed to address the protection of children from violence. “I think Guyana has still some miles to go in making sure that from both the policy, but especially the service delivery level we can make sure those children’s rights, the child right to be protected from violence is fulfilled,” Marchi said.

Minister of Public Telecommunications, Catherine Hughes

Minister of Public Telecommunications, Catherine Hughes

The collaboration between the RCC and the GPF are part of government’s efforts to address violence against children. Government has pledged an inter-ministerial approach to tackle violence against children.

The RCC has also been working with stakeholders, particularly in hinterland communities, to address issues of access to education and health for children as part of fulfilling the CRC’s mandate.

 

By Tiffny Rhodius

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