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Child protection week; opening old wounds with new afflictions

 

This year the activity, which almost always, coincide with the National Children’s Day on 1st June, started on that same joyous note.

“I am a child of this century,”stated Hemma Mellon as an introductory remarks to the Child Protection Week. “I do not listen to the radio and so many things I can just downloaded online. Google is my friend and so is YouTube!”

As the 150 attendees basked in the glories of being a child, the reality that all is not well slowly hit them as the day progressed with words such as, absent children, abuse, neglect, negligence, being the hot topics of the week.

Amongst the most poignant presentations was that of the social affairs department, which showed the harsh reality of abuse, neglect and many atrocious and vicious acts happening to real children on a daily basis in communities around our small country.

Another reality check was a presentation from the Ministry of Health highlighting the sad emergence of parents who because of their religious beliefs is not taking their children to be vaccinated.

Many of the partners in child protection admitted to the audience of their deficiencies in dealing with such emerging trends and the lack of resources to push for campaigns in favour of road safety or emergency plans in case of disasters, for example.
To couple it all, on a live interview on Radyo Sesel that same week, many callers were keen to point out the many defects and loopholes of so many policies in existence that have somehow not modernise with time and they were also quick to blame children on emerging trends such as runaways and child pornography.

Along the sidelines of the week activities, the ‘no hitting campaign’ was not getting any positive feedbacks either, as outraged participants called for harsher punishments, reforming schools and more role modelling.

“We keep adding fuel to the fire that is happening in our homes as parents loses control and children takes advantage of these situations to test boundaries,” one participant from the Inner Island stated.

In hindsight, the week evolved slowly into making every participant, from children to adult realise that old wounds of rights, abuse, neglect, etc. were still very much there, but new one’s were coming to the fore as well.

This year, Seychelles will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, UNCRC. The perfect opportunity to review progress made and the tedious task ahead of protecting our dear little treasures, from many more wounds.