Unicef-top about children’s rights: “Children want more attention”

POSTED: 11/24/14 7:50 PM

LEIDEN – The rights of children in the Caribbean must improve. This is why the four countries in the Kingdom presented a number of priorities in the Children’s Rights Plan on Thursday through the Taskforce Children’s Rights, Jamila Baaziz reports on Caribisch Netwerk.

The focus of the plan is on combating violence against children, putting family first, looking at the role of parents in the upbringing, time management outside of the school and establishing organizations that protect children’s rights, such as an Ombudsman for children or a Children’s Hotline. In the coming months, the plan will be developed further, Minister Ronald Plasterk (Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations) said.

A group of experts spoke about children’s rights in the Caribbean during a Unicef-top in Leiden on Thursday. Among them was PvdA-parliamentarian Roelof van Laar. His party will propose next week to introduce a child-allowance on the three islands of Caribbean Netherlands – Saba, Statia and Bonaire.

Youngsters are able to contribute to the improvement of their situation, was one of the observations made at the Unicef-top. Nataly Linzey, a member of the Kingdom Youth Parliament, who represented Saba at the top, expressed it like this: “The government does not have to do everything. We are also able to contribute. People must get the feeling that they are able to go to someone with their problems, but they are often too ashamed to do this. That has to change.”

For Max Stuart, project leader comprehensive district approach in Bonaire, the vision of the island governments is important. “That is about how they want to create self-reliance and healthy citizens. That begins with investing in good houses, education, welfare and safety. There is a lot of poverty, but we have to break through this vicious circle.”

“Children want more attention. They feel that nobody is listening to them, that nobody understands them,” says Murielle Jean-Michel, a student from St. Maarten who is also a member of the Kingdom Youth Parliament. “Because of this they are no longer attending school and they become depressed. They are thinking: I am not able to do anything.”

Jean-Michel says that youngsters must begin to share their experiences with each other, as part of a solution. “This way they will learn that there are people who see them and who want to help. In St. Maarten we are going to research the option of organizing workshops where youngsters feel free to talk.”

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