THE EDITOR, Sir:
Jamaica ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1991. In doing so, the country pledged to the international community to respect, protect, promote and fulfil the civil, economic, social and political rights of its child citizens.
These rights are broken down into three main areas:
1. Provision - the right to possess, receive or have access to certain things or services.
2. The right to be shielded from harmful acts and practices.
3. Participation - the child has a right to be heard on decisions affecting his or her life.
Here are a few other rights to be considered. Do our laws and policies create an enabling environment for the following?
Article 2: Non-discrimination - all rights must be granted to each child without exception. The State must protect the child from all forms of discrimination.
Article 4: Implementation of rights - the obligation on the State to ensure that rights in the convention are implemented.
Article 6: Life, survival and development - the right of the child to life and the State's obligation to ensure the child's survival and development.
Article 12: Expression of opinion - the right of the child to express his or her opinion and to have this taken into consideration.
Article 13: Freedom of expression and information - the right to seek, receive, and impart information in various forms, including art, print and writing.
Article 24: Health care - access to preventative and curative health-care services, as well as the gradual abolition of traditional practices harmful to the child.
Article 28: Education - the right to free primary education, the availability of vocational educating, and the need for measures to reduce dropout rates.
Article 34: Sexual exploitation - protection of the child from sexual exploitation, including prostitution and the use of children in pornographic materials.
There are several others, but has Jamaica observed these in real terms? It is oftentimes said that the type of outlook or indicator for any nation is the way it treats its children or youth.
Jamaica Youth Advocacy Network