Arrindell wants Unicef report debated in parliament

POSTED: 06/4/13 12:14 PM

St. Maarten – The United Nations Children’s Fund, Unicef, has carried out a study as it relates to the rights of children and adolescents in the country.  This study was presented to the Minister of Youth Affairs last month where according to reports; the overall situation of children and adolescents in St. Maarten is good.

“Parliament needs a copy of the recently Unicef report, and the house needs to debate the content of it and look into the areas that require additional attention,” MP Drs. Gracita Arrindell stated in a press release yesterday.

“Our young people are our most precious resource.  As a country, we must do all in our power to ensure that their rights are respected,” she added.

The plus points according to media reports for the country based on the report are that there is almost universal access to health care and education while mechanisms are in place for those who are in need of protection; however there are some issues that require continued attention by the government and stakeholders.

Some of the areas that require attention are high teen pregnancy rate, an increase in obesity among children, challenges in accessing health care for migrant children and that health data was not easily accessible.

In the area of education, the school curriculum should be adapted to needs of local students so that they could be able to learn about local culture; other challenges noted were class size, teachers, school materials and limited interaction between school and parents; limited after-school care opportunities.

The report also found that there was a high level of violence against children at home, in schools and elsewhere.  It also found challenges relating to the coordination among actors in the child protection system.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child was adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1989.

The convention lists internationally acknowledged rights of children.  The aim of the adoption of the convention was to emphasize that a child is a human together with all the rights a parent has.  The rights of a child are human rights.

“I am looking forward to calling a parliamentary meeting shortly and prior to the upcoming parliamentary summer recess,” Arrindell stated.

The report was compiled based on research that was carried out by an independent organization.  As part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, St. Maarten has a responsibility to report on a regular basis to the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC).

 

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