Bahamas takes part in marking Children's Day

THE Bahamas Wednesday joined hundreds of United Nations Member States in the global observance of Universal Children’s Day, celebrated annually on November 20.

Officials from the Ministry of Social Services and Community Development, the Department of Social Services, the National Child Protection Council, the Royal Bahamas Police Force and the Urban Renewal Programme conducted a series of education and awareness programmes at special assemblies at various schools throughout New Providence in celebration of Universal Children’s Day, and under the auspices of the national children’s “I Gat A Right” campaign.

Universal Children’s Day was established on December 14, 1954 when the United Nations passed a resolution recommending that all countries institute a day of worldwide fraternity and understanding between children. November 20 eventually became the designated date for the observance as it was on this date in 1959 that the United Nations adopted the Declaration on the Rights of the Child and it was also on the same date in 1989, that the Convention on the Rights of the Child was adopted.

Minister of Social Services and Community Development Melanie Griffin, in a national radio address, said it is important that Bahamian children and their parents are aware of these rights.

Mrs Griffin also urged Bahamians to resolve, on behalf of all children, to promote peace, equality and friendship throughout our country and by extension throughout the world.”

“I acknowledge and commend the efforts of the National Child Protection Council and the Department of Social Services of my Ministry for the ‘I Gat A Right’ seminars organised for children, parents, care givers and professionals to inform them of these rights.

Seminars are ongoing in New Providence and the Family Islands, particularly during Child Protection Month. We will continue to take these throughout the Bahamas to ensure that all children and indeed all persons are aware of these rights,” Mrs Griffin said.

She said one of the functions of the National Committee for Families and Children, which is established under the Child Protection Act, is “promoting, monitoring and evaluating the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and ensuring that the government meets its national and international obligations as a party to the convention.

“On this day, we give thanks to God for our children and the joy they bring to our lives and I urge all parents and guardians to recommit themselves to ensuring the care, protection and well being of their children,” Mrs Griffin said. “On this day, we also acknowledge that children have rights and as a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Bahamas is committed to ensuring that these rights are upheld and protected.

“As we observe Universal Children’s Day, we acknowledge that around the world, there are children who are victims of abuse, children who are living with the conflict of war, children who are living in extreme poverty, children without proper healthcare and education and children whose basic rights are being denied.

“We must continue to urge world leaders and persons in positions of authority to find the will and the means to bring about the changes needed to correct these situations.”


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