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UNICEF welcomes Nauru Child Protection Act

© UNICEF Pacific

SUVA, 14 June 2016 – The Government of Nauru has reinforced its commitment to children’s rights by adopting a comprehensive and forward-looking Child Protection Act. 

Nauru’s Parliament passed the Child Protection and Welfare Act on 10 June, ushering in legal provisions for the welfare, care and protection of all children in Nauru, and for the enforcement of children’s rights under various international conventions, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

In announcing the new Act, Nauru’s Minister for Home Affairs Charmaine Scotty, noted that “The Act recognises the value of Nauruan tradition, culture and community values, except where such matters conflict with the rights of children as provided for in the Act. In doing so, the Government has made a strong commitment to the protection of all children in Nauru, today, and tomorrow.” 

The new Child Protection and Welfare Act defines ‘children’ as all people under the age of 18 and takes a family-centric approach to child welfare and protection. Amongst other provisions, the law gives the Ministry of Home Affairs the mandate to take action to prevent and protect children from harm and provides for powers of investigation, moving a child to a safe place in cases where harm may or has come to a child, and placement of children with other caregivers.  

“We welcome the passing of this vital piece of legislation” said UNICEF Pacific Representative, Dr Karen Allen. “This Act brings Nauru into alignment with many international standards, including raising the minimum age of marriage to 18 for both boys and girls. In particular we welcome the mandatory reporting of any sexual abuse or exploitation of a child by persons in authority in a school, church or other religious institution, health facility, prison, detention or corrections facility, or any other place where children are supervised or cared. This sends a strong signal that sexual abuse or exploitation will not be tolerated – and supports child victims to safely report abuse and seek help.”

In congratulating the Government of Nauru on the passing of the Child Protection and Welfare Act, Dr Allen added, “UNICEF is proud to have supported the Government of Nauru in developing this Act. We look forward to working with the Government and communities to support its implementation and ongoing efforts to protect and support the children of Nauru.” 

About UNICEF: 

UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. 

Our multi-country programme and office located in Fiji covers the Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu. These 14 Pacific island countries are home to 2.3 million people, including 1.2 million children and youth, living on more than 660 islands and atolls stretching across 17.2 million square kilometres of the Pacific Ocean.

For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: unicefpacific.org

For further information and interview requests, please contact: 

Alice Clements, Tel: +679 992 5606, aclements@unicef.org


 

 
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