By supporting the efforts of the Constitutional Commission on the Rights of the Child, the United Nation’s Children Fund (UNICEF) has reaffirmed its commitment to aid Government’s attempt of fulfilling the rights of children.
And to emphasise this support, yesterday, UNICEF Representative for Guyana, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago, Dr Suleiman Braimoh, met with the newly elected Chairperson of the Commission, Ms Aleema Nasir, for a closed-door meeting.
However, prior to the start of that meeting, the two (Dr Braimoh and Ms Nasir) briefly entertained some questions from the media fraternity, which was invited for a photo opportunity.
Nasir however claimed not to be in a position to comment on issues that have so far clouded the way forward for the commission.
One elected Commissioner has already resigned and another according to some reports is of a questionable character given the nature and the facets of protecting the rights of the child by the Commission. “Our Commission is pretty new, we met for the first time last week so I am not in a position to comment,” Nasir said.
And given the increase in the number of violence against children in the local society, Barimoh expressed appreciation that the Government is already poised and prepared to address this problem by putting in place a new legislation.
“The issue is not if the Government is really aware or committed to fighting sexual violence, the issue now is how we move forward from the point of the legislation. I am sure that the Commission will be able to get on track and be able to achieve results.”
In congratulating the appointment of Ms Nasir, Dr Braimoh emphasised his confidence that “through your work and that of the members of the Commission there would be continued effort in building a strong landscape for children on many fronts including that of legislation, policy and robust programme planning and implementation.”
Dr Braimoh further noted that, “We are aware that this Constitutional Commission, by virtue of its mandate will face a series of challenges and will need to address several issues to become fully operational, effective and efficient.”
The Rights of the Child Commission is one of four Commissions constituted to help strengthen social justice and the rule of law. To this end, and in accordance with the agreed programme of co-operation with the Government of Guyana, UNICEF will be supporting the Commission to identify its capacity and operational needs and provide necessary support, according to Dr Braimoh.
He noted, too, that UNICEF is also aware that solid evidence-based knowledge of the situation of children in Guyana is an indispensable framework for the Commission’s work. “It is therefore timely that the UNICEF/Government of Guyana work-plan 2010 provides for the preparation of an updated situation assessment and analysis of children and women in the country.
“We invite, the honourable Chairperson and members of the Commission to be part of this process to ensure that it is informed by their rich experience and that it also reflects their vision for children, which no doubt was part of the considerations in the appointment of the Chair and members.”
UNICEF looks forward to close relations with the Commission, in itself and in its work with the childcare and Protection Agency which is another element of the emerging strengthened landscape for children and women in Guyana, he said.
Speaking on behalf of her members, Ms Nasir said that the Commission eagerly looks forward to partnering with UNICEF even as she underscored her optimism that support will continually be forthcoming.
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