2009 Caribbean Games to shine spotlight on violence against children through local partnership with UNICEF
Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, May 2010 – UNICEF has teamed up with the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) for the 2009 Caribbean Games to highlight impact of violence against children on the healthy social development of children and adolescents throughout the Caribbean.
At least 29 countries across the Caribbean are scheduled to participate in the most important sporting event in the region and as the host country for the 2009 Caribbean Games, the official launch was held at the Hasely Crawford National Stadium on Friday, 11 January 2008 in Trinidad and Tobago. The Launch facilitated the meeting of 120 key stakeholders for the 2009 Caribbean Games from across the region including Government Officials, UNICEF, the Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committees (CANOC), Olympic Committees, Local Organising Committees and other regional organisations.
In delivering his feature address at the Launch, His Excellency, Professor George Maxwell Richards, President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, reiterated that “The CANOC brings us onto a new threshold.” His Excellency also spoke of the role that ordinary men and women can play in shaping Caribbean history while highlighting the importance of keeping a vision of unity for the betterment of sports and sporting excellence in the Caribbean.
The LOC and CANOC will join hands with UNICEF offices throughout the Caribbean to promote awareness, educate and advocate for the cessation of violence against children. UNICEF is honoured to partner with these organizations for the first ever 2009 Caribbean Games, scheduled to be held from July 13 to 19, 2009 with sporting events that include Aquatics (Swimming and Water Polo), Track and Field, Boxing, Netball and Volleyball.
In support of the partnership, Mr. Felipe Noguera, Chief Executive Officer, 2009 Caribbean Games stated “We are very pleased to be partnering with UNICEF which has long established itself as a defender of children’s right. Like UNICEF the 2009 Caribbean Games places a great priority on the rights and issues of children with the promotion of healthy lifestyles, to sportsmanship, to team spirit and fair play. We hope that the promotion of these games will be able to encourage environmental awareness, a sense of pride, cooperation and dignity among all people in the Caribbean and in particular the youth.”
Violence in the Caribbean negatively impacts upon our children and young people both as victims and as perpetrators in the areas of crime, abuse and the realization of children’s rights. The human rights treaty bodies, and in particular the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, report concerns on the number of children and adolescents affected globally by sexual and gender based violence; persistent use of corporal punishment; ‘gang’ violence and criminal activity combined with easy access to guns. Children experience violence at home, in their communities and in institutions.
The UN Study on Violence against Children in the Caribbean Region (2006) indicates that the effects are both short term including physical harm when children are victims and long term including psychological consequences. Youth violence affects not only the victims, but also their families, friends and communities, and the effects are not only death or injury, but also negative psychological outcomes, poorer quality of life, reduced productivity and generally disrupted societies.
A UNICEF, LOC and CANOC partnership for the 2009 Caribbean Games will facilitate strategic programming in volatile communities throughout the region and promote child friendly environments. Utilizing sports, UNICEF supported interventions in the Caribbean will be reinforced through this joint partnership to protect all children and adolescents, including those who are vulnerable to and at risk of experiencing violence and abuse. The public, especially young people aged 10 to 24 will become more aware of the incidence and effects of abuse and be better informed about the ways to protect themselves from various forms of abuse.
UNICEF’s commitment and efforts for the effective integration of sports for development in education, protection and HIV prevention programmes will complement the vision of the 2009 Caribbean Games. Moreover, it will generate awareness across the region through sporting excellence about the ability of each individual to make a difference in improving the quality of lives of all children, including vulnerable and at risk children and adolescents.
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