Acknowledging that children have rights does not mean that parents have relinquished theirs.
That view was expressed by Minister of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment and Community Development, Steven Blackett, last weekend, while speaking at celebrations to mark the 25th Anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child at Hilton Barbados, Needhams Point, St. Michael.
???The voice of the child must be heard and respected in all matters concerning his or her rights, for example, those with power should consult with children before making decisions that will affect them. Doing this does not mean that you have relinquished your rights as a parent, all that means is that you can both communicate and voice opinions in an amicable manner,??? he stated.
Emphasising that the violation of children???s rights compromised a country???s future prosperity and ability to build lasting peace, the Minister was adamant that there must be some commitment to doing everything to prevent violations, and rising to the challenge to protect the children of the nation.
To this end, he highlighted the work done by the Champion of Children???s Rights, Faith Marshall-Harris, and pledged Government???s continued commitment to the development of policies, programmes and activities to empower and protect children. ???It is my mission to continue encouraging dialogue and facilitating the exchange of good practice among stakeholders,??? Mr. Blackett added.
Performers at the event included the St. Leonard???s Boys??? Choir; Junior Calypso Monarch, Ranaan Hackett; the Barbados Community College Drama Group; Mount Tabor Primary School; and Dancin??? Africa Children???s Company. Daryl Jordan Secondary and the Combermere School rendered musical selections on the steel pan.
The aim of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child is to set standards for the defence of children against the neglect and abuse they face in varying degrees worldwide. It allows for the different cultural, political and material realities among states, but the most important consideration is the best interest of the child.