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Resolution on Justice for Eastern Caribbean Children Presented to Saint Lucia’s Acting Prime Minister at the UNICEF-supported Seminar on Justice for Children

Bridgetown, Barbados, 30 July 2007 - The seminar focusing on Justice for Children in the eastern Caribbean concluded on 28th July in Saint Lucia with the main outcome being the development a draft resolution by participants on what needed to be done to further tip the scales of justice in favor of Eastern Caribbean children.

This resolution was handed over to the Acting Prime Minister of Saint Lucia, the Honourable Stephenson King during a closing ceremony held at the Sandals Grande Resort - the venue of the seminar.

The resolution focused on what needed to be done to improve justice for children in the areas of policy development, legislation, capacity building, service delivery, awareness building and in research, monitoring and evaluation.  It was also agreed that future strategies should not only focus on offenders but also on child witnesses and victims, including children who have been sexually abused.

This resolution will be presented to Heads of Government from Member States of the Eastern Caribbean countries, as well as from Barbados and the Turks and Caiscos Islands.

The closing ceremony was used as an opportunity not only to hand over the resolution, but also to remind participants of the importance of protecting the rights of all children, without discrimination. During his remarks the Acting Prime Minister noted that a society which is unable to keep its children and adolescents from the court is a “failing society” and one that is also at risk.

His sentiments were similarly echoed earlier by the UNICEF Special Envoy for the Caribbean, Ms. Karin Sham Poo, who in her closing remarks also reminded participants that unless they protect vulnerable children in their societies then the development of the societies will be at risk.

"Unless we take concrete steps to protect our vulnerable children against any forms of violence and abuse, unless we render justice to them whenever their rights have been violated, unless we assist them in overcoming the traumas caused by such violations, the development of society is at risk and we will face increasing numbers of children who ‘offend’ because they were ‘offended against.” She said.

These views were also shared by the Austrian Ambassador, Her Excellency Marianne Dacosta and the St. Kitts and Nevis Ambassador Plenipotentiary -Her Excellency Rosalyn Hazelle during their closing remarks.

The three-day seminar - which was organized by the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court in collaboration with the UNICEF Office for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, along with the Austrian Commission and the British High Commission - brought together participants from the social work, probation and the law enforcement sectors, as well judges and magistrates from Barbados, Turks and Caicos and from the Eastern Caribbean countries. It also featured eminent facilitators such as Judge Renate Winter from the UN International Court of Sierra Leone and Mr Jean Zermatten, Director of the International Institute for the Rights of the Child in Switzerland.

For further information, please contact:
Niloufar Pourzand, npourzand@unicef.org, UNICEF Office for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean
Heather Stewart, hstewart@unicef.org, UNICEF Office for Barbados and Eastern Caribbean
Lisa McClean-Trotman,  lmccleantrotman@unicef.org, UNICEF Office for Barbados and Eastern Caribbean

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About UNICEF
UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence.  The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS.  UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

 

 
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