T&T needs ways to treat child issues
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The response to child abuse or children’s issues in Trinidad and Tobago is currently a reactive one. So said Khin Sandi Lwin, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) representative for the Eastern Caribbean.
“When something happens to a child, people get upset and get vocal about it and then the issue dies.”
Lwin was making a point for the importance of having a body that would not only monitor children’s issues but ways to treat with them.
Last week Lwin was present at the launch of the Caribbean Child Rights Observatory Network (CCRON) at The University of the West Indies. Both UNICEF and the Institute of International Relations, The University of the West Indies (UWI) share a commitment to the principles of the Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC); an international treaty.
The launch of CCRON and relating workshops were hosted by the Institute of International Relations on May 15. CCRON is expected to operate as a regional network of children’s rights organisations which will collect date, accurate analysis and dissemination of information on the situation of children in the region.
It is also expected to provide feedback and support to Governments in English-speaking Caribbean countries in identifying the critical issues related to children and work with agencies and bodies at the forefront of protecting children’s rights. In Trinidad and Tobago, violence against children, juvenile crime and infant mortality are among the critical issues affecting the nation’s vulnerable, Lwin said.
She praised the Child Protection Task Force, the Family Court and the Children’s Life Fund as some of the local initiatives that work in the favour of this country’s children. “By linking institutions, we will bring about a common data base from where information can be evaluated and the Convention on the Rights of the Child implemented.”
“Academia has a very important role to play and the outcome of the research is what would assist Governments in adjusting programmes that are already in existence and putting money in the right programmes.” CCRON will also act as an advocate for children’s issues, Lwin said. She is looking forward to an informed general public on children’s issues and the start of a meaningful national conversation. A plan is also on the cards to sensitise the judiciary, church leaders and social workers on the statistics gathered and the right set of intervention to follow.
Lwin is also anxious to see a country report being presented by Trinidad and Tobago since, she said, it is long overdue.
“The country report is very important since it will show how Trinidad and Tobago is doing in terms of child issues.”