Child protection campaign launched in Seychelles to reduce abuse, neglect
Participants of the 'Courage' campaign using some of the picture-based resources. (National Council for Children)
(Seychelles News Agency) - What are the challenges to protecting children in Seychelles and how can they be overcome? Those are the questions posed in a new campaign called ‘Courage’ launched in the island nation.
The campaign, which is the brainchild of a South African consultant, Dee Blackie, has received the support of the National Council for Children, a local not-for-profit organisation.
“Child protection is a very sensitive subject and the issues that it deals with, such as abuse, exploitation and neglect, are difficult to talk about,” says Blackie.
The consultant adds that the picture-based campaign will facilitate engagement of all involved through partnerships and collaborations.
Seychelles, a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean, was among the first countries to sign the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child set up in September 1990.
The convention is the most complete statement of children’s rights ever produced and is the most widely-ratified international human rights treaty in history. It covers all aspects of a child’s life and set out the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights that all children everywhere are entitled to. It also explains how adults and governments must work together to make sure all children can enjoy all their rights.
Since it came into force, the convention has ensured that several mechanisms are put in place to deal with mistreatment of children globally.
The National Council for Children has been a vocal advocate of child protection issues, and after 27 years, the council says a ‘fresh look at the system’ is needed.
“The Courage programme will help us to work more collectively to improve child-centered practices and create stronger partnerships which are vital to providing better care for children,” says Jean-Claude Matombe, the chief executive.
Matombe says that although every child should be welcomed and loved as individuals with potentials that are valuable to their community, this is not the experience of all children in Seychelles.
“The gap between what a child is entitled to at birth and the reality for some children should aggrieve every member of our community,” he said.
The government of Seychelles has the responsibility of taking the necessary actions so that children do not grow up in poverty, endure or witness any forms of abuse, he said.
Matombe says, that “Our vision is to have a country where there is a range of services and organisations which provide support for child development at every point in a child’s life.”
Members of the convention are required to give a report on their status in upholding all the rights stated every five years. The next report is due early next year, but Matombe says there is still work to be done in achieving all the targets of the convention.