Published On: Fri, Sep 12th, 2014

Child’s rights are human rights, says gender rights advocate

Felicia-BrowneBASSETERRE, St Kitts -- Child’s rights are human rights. The rights of children within the Caribbean should be viewed as a way to curb the level of human rights violations that have been inflicted upon them, says regional gender rights advocate Felicia Browne.

“Children have the right to live in a free and peaceful environment; free from any form of abuse or violence. Caribbean societies and their communities should engage in various forms of child protection legislation that will provide young girls and boys the necessary protection that they require. However, many are slow to implement effective legislation that is necessary to protect the rights of children,” Browne said.

As it stands, she continued, the Caribbean still has the highest levels of child abuse and vulnerable cases, which place the child/children in dire circumstances. Such instances include rape, sexual abuse, child trafficking and child prostitution.

“The new academic year, has begun with the tragic death of Shante Claxton in Nevis, whose body found on her school premises. As a society, we should ensure that our children are protected from harm,” Browne added.

“Our children should not live in fear of attending school nor have the fear of being harmed on their school premises even on a weekend. The sudden death of this young girl should awaken our need for effective policies and legislations to protect the rights of girls. It should not longer be a case in which young girls and boys have to be fearful for their own lives, especially within their communities. The rape and murder of this young girl must be seen as a vicious gender-based crime. Gender-based crimes are still the highest within the Caribbean, and our policymakers should ensure that we must act effectively to curb these types of violence towards our children. The death of Shante Claxton is a very sad day for us within the Caribbean region,” she continued.

Browne made a plea that parents, guardians, community members and advocates stand firm in eradicating violence against women and children. November 25 is observed as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and Girls. Orange Day, as it is commonly known, highlights the importance and protection of women and girls.

It is designed to draw awareness of gender-based violence across the globe.

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