Nov 15, 2008 News
Five new laws are being developed to protect the rights of children. Minister of Human Services and Social Security, Priya Manickchand, yesterday told this to children from all across the country, who are meeting for a two-day conference.
She added that drafting of the Sexual Offences Bill has been completed, and that she expects it will be presented in the National Assembly by the end of this month.
Manickchand told Kaieteur News, after the opening of the conference, that the five new laws being drafted relate to child protection, child care, adoption, and child custody. She told children at the opening of the conference that the Government is committed to protecting them, and will strive to do everything for them to be what they can be. The two-day children’s conference is being held at the Ocean View Convention Centre, Liliendaal, East Coast Demerara.
It is being organised by EveryChild Guyana, a Non-Governmental Organisation, in collaboration with the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security and the United Nations Children’s Fund.
EveryChild Guyana was brought about by the merger of the Christian Children’s Fund of Great Britain (CCFGB) and the European Children’s Trust (ECT).
It provides vitamins and medication for children infected and affected by HIV/AIDS, and also provides psychosocial support for those who are affected. The organization also provides after-school literacy programmes for children, and parenting skills training for parents. The children’s conference brings together children from all across the country to speak out among their peers, caregivers/parents, decision makers and the media on issues that affect them.
Rueshanna Boyce, a third form student of St Rose’s High School, delivered the feature address at the opening ceremony.
She called for all Guyanese to play a part in protecting children. She said every child has the right to be protected, as each one if special and has equal rights.
Ms Boyce lamented the fact that some parents keep children away from school, abuse them, and encourage them into child labour.
She said that, instead of parents dismissing children as “dunce” and saying they are “not learning,” parents should sit and work with them. “You should be the ones to impart to us parental guidance, morals and values,” Ms Boyce told parents.
She said that both parents and teachers play an important role in a child’s education, and she implored them to work together. Ms Boyce spoke out against the abuse of children, saying some are “cuffed, kicked and screamed at,” but are still expected to rise above it all and perform well. She posited that some children make poor choices because they don’t feel worthy and don’t feel a sense of being loved.
“We need to know in our hearts that we are loved,” she declared.
She listed parents, care givers, teachers, religious leaders, policemen, doctors as those who have the responsibility of ensuring children are protected.
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