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UN special Representative on violence Against Children, Ms Marta Santos Piais acknioledges Solomon Islands government commitment in enacting shild protection legisllstion

HONIARA, 21 May 2015 - The Special Representative of the UN Secretary- General (SRSG) on Violence against Children, Ms. Marta Santos Pais commended the Government for its commitment towards eliminating violence against children in Solomon Islands during a meeting with the Solomon Islands Prime Minister Sogavare today. 

Solomon Islands Government and UN agencies have  joined efforts to fight violence against children and women under the five year programme on Eliminating Violence Against Women and Girls “Keeping the Promise in Solomon Islands: From Policy to Action”.

During their meeting, Ms. Santos Pais appreciated the Government’s efforts and progress made with the Child and Family Welfare Bill. “I am pleased to learn that there is renewed commitment towards passing the Child and Family Welfare Bill this year. It is key for the protection of children from violence that the Child and Family Welfare Bill is enacted and implemented, and the Family Protection Act effectively enforced,” said Ms. Santos Pais.

The SRSG added that this is important in preventing and ending violence against children and strengthening government services, especially the Social Welfare Department Services, to secure child protection. It is also key to pair legal and policy commitments with increasing efforts in working with families and communities to overcome the social acceptance of violence against children.
Ms. Santos Pais further acknowledged the Government for passing the 2015 national budget last month that increased budget allocation to the Civil Registration Office by SBD 1 million which will further strengthen current birth registration efforts in the country.

The Special Representative assured Prime Minister Sogavare of the support from her office in partnership with UNICEF and UN agencies in Solomon Islands to strengthen child protection and end violence against children.
In response, Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare expressed his gratitude for the SRSG’s courtesy visit to the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Mr Sogavare welcomed Ms. Santos Pais’ to Solomon Islands and reiterated the importance of her work in addressingthe plight of children throughout the world.

He said child abuse and economic exploitation of children are a real occurrence in Solomon Islands and there is a need for urgent action to prevent children from being subjected to those conditions.

The Prime Minister noted that Solomon Islands may have been perceived as needing to do more in this area because of its inherent cultural and social circumstances but assured Ms Santos Pais  of the commitment of his government to  work with relevant UN agencies and other international organisations to minimise the ramifications that violence against children may have on  Solomon Islands society, including through enacting necessary additional legislation to protect the rights of children and prevent incidents of violence against them.

Solomon Islands ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1995 and is currently in the process of submitting its second and third country reports on the implementation of the Convention.

Solomon Islands is also due for its second cycle under the Universal Periodic Review by October 2015 and remains committed to engage in a constructive dialogue in Geneva with the Human Rights Council.

The Prime Minister noted that the Solomon Islands National Constitution guarantees fundamental rights and freedoms to all, including children, but in addition there is a need for relevant laws to be aligned with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

He said the recent Family Protection Act 2014 has made major inroads to addressing the issue of violence against children in a family setting.

Furthermore there has been the setting up of referral networks, such as the Ministry of Health, RSIP, Family Support Centre and Christian Care Centre that have made it easier to deal with violence against children cases, while noting that more can be done to address this issue on a national front, he said.

Mr Sogavare thanked the SRSG for her timely visit and wished her success in her meetings with government ministries, Civil Society, faith-based organisations and other stakeholders during her three-day visit to the country.

For more information please contact, Atenia Tahu, UNICEF Solomon Islands Field Office, Tel: (677) 21243
Or Deli Oso, Prime Minister’s Office Tel: (677) 22202




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