Seminar Focuses On Children’s Rights

Officials of the Ministry of Social Services and Community Development, the National Child Protection Council and the Urban Renewal Programme Monday hosted a one-day conference on the Rights of the Child for Social Workers, Guidance Counselors and Law Enforcement officials.

The “I Gat a Right” Seminar was designed to train professionals in the areas of Social Work, Guidance Counseling, Education and Law Enforcement on the fundamentals of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Bahamas signed onto the Convention on October 30, 1990 and ratified it on February 20, 1991.

“By signing onto, and ratifying the Convention, the Government of The Bahamas agreed to be held accountable to the international community for ensuring and protecting children’s rights,” Mrs. Griffin said.

“In this world of high technology and easy travel across borders, it is recognized that we live in a global village and that there are many demands on us, particularly based on international conventions to which we have signed on. The Bahamas is being required to take is place with the other State Parties who have endorsed the Convention on the Rights of The Child and to enforce the rights contained therein.

“Additionally, we are mandated to develop and undertake all actions and policies in the best interest of the child,” Mrs. Griffin added.

Mrs. Griffin said the Convention on the Rights of The Child was the first legally binding, international, instrument to incorporate the full range of human rights.

“The originators wanted to ensure that the world recognized that not only adults, but children as well, had human rights. These rights include, the right to survival; the right to develop to their fullest potential; the right of protection from harmful influences, abuse and exploitation, and the right to fully participate in family, cultural and social life.

“The purpose of this seminar therefore, is to provide training to Social Workers and Guidance Counselors on the Convention of the Rights of the Child and then to pass on this knowledge to students in simple language they can understand, using the Bahamian context.”

Mrs. Griffin said the seminar should be viewed as “more than dealing with the Rights of Children, but with the foundation of how we, as a people, treat the future generations of Bahamians.”

“If they are to grow into the kinds of productive, well-rounded adults we need for the peaceful development of our country, it is imperative that we ensure their protection and the enforcement of their rights.

“The children, no doubt, will benefit greatly and by extension, our community, as we educate them about their rights,” Mrs. Griffin added.

Minister Griffin said far too many children are being abused, molested and neglected in The Bahamas despite the fact that children are considered the “next generation.”

“We cannot expect our children to be productive citizens under such conditions,” Mrs. Griffin said.

By: Bahamas Information Services