Categorized | Editorials

Children’s Rights

Things always have a way of returning to reality on the morning after.
In a sense, then, we are now all living on the morning after.
This time around, we reference the scene that now unfolds in the aftermath of Hubert Ingraham’s most recent Waterloo moment.
But no matter what this state of play, the fact remains, that the current administration has in their possession no magic bullet and that very many of this nation’s children are being abused.
This nation’s children deserve better.
These children have internationally recognized rights.
As we have discovered and as we wholeheartedly agree, “…mankind owes to the child the best it has to give…”
And so, tTBahamian-style], we return to a depiction of the rights of the child.
By way of solemn proclamation, the General Assembly noted, “…THIS DECLARATION OF THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD to the end that he may have a happy childhood and enjoy for his own good and for the good of society the rights and freedoms herein set forth… Every child, without any exception whatsoever, shall be entitled to these rights, without distinction or discrimination on account of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status, whether of himself or of his family.
Second, The child shall enjoy special protection, and shall be given opportunities and facilities, by law and by other means, to enable him to develop physically, mentally, morally, spiritually and socially in a healthy and normal manner and in conditions of freedom and dignity.
Third, the child shall be entitled from his birth to a name and a nationality.
Fourth, the child shall enjoy the benefits of social security. He shall be entitled to grow and develop in health. To this end, special care and protection shall be provided both to him and to his mother, including adequate pre-natal and post-natal care. The child shall have the right to adequate nutrition, housing, recreation and medical services.
Fifth, the child who is physically, mentally or socially handicapped shall be given the special treatment, education and care required by his particular condition.
Sixth, the child, for the full and harmonious development of his personality, needs love and understanding. He shall, wherever possible, grow up in the care and under the responsibility of his parents, and, in any case, in an atmosphere of affection and of moral and material security. A child of tender years shall not, save in exceptional circumstances, be separated from his mother. Society and the public authorities shall have the duty to extend particular care to children without a family and to those without adequate means of support. Payment of State and other assistance towards the maintenance of children of large families is desirable.
Seventh, the child is entitled to receive education, which shall be free and compulsory, at least in the elementary stages. He shall be given an education which will promote his general culture and enable him, on a basis of equal opportunity, to develop his abilities, his individual judgment, and his sense of moral and social responsibility, and to become a useful member of society.
 The best interests of the child shall be the guiding principle of those responsible for his education and guidance; that responsibility lies in the first place with his parents.
 The child shall have full opportunity for play and recreation, which should be directed to the same purposes as education; society and the public authorities shall endeavor to promote the enjoyment of this right.
Eighth, The child shall in all circumstances be among the first to receive protection and relief.
The child shall be protected against all forms of neglect, cruelty and exploitation. He shall not be the subject of traffic, in any form.
Ninth, The child shall not be admitted to employment before an appropriate minimum age. He shall in no case be caused or permitted to engage in any occupation or employment which would prejudice his health or education, or interfere with his physical, mental or moral development.
Tenth, The child shall be protected from practices which may foster racial, religious and any other form of discrimination. He shall be brought up in a spirit of understanding, tolerance, friendship among peoples, peace and universal brotherhood, and in full consciousness that his energy and talents should be devoted to the service of his fellow men.
These fine words deserve far more attention than they have to date been given by the Bahamian people writ large.
Clearly, then, were we think more deeply about all the ills we now experience, we would heed this Declaration.
And yet, we dare hope for the soon coming of that better day.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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