Chil­dren draft man­i­festo

Fiji Sun - - Suncity - SELITA BOLANAVANUA selita.bolanavanua@fi­

Agroup of chil­dren are tak­ing the ini­tia­tive by out­lin­ing what they feel needs to be in­cluded in a man­i­festo.

Kids Link Fiji, pre­sented the Chil­dren’s Man­i­festo on the Rights of a Child to the The Na­tional Co­or­di­nat­ing Com­mit­tee on Chil­dren dur­ing the Chil­dren’s Sym­po­sium at the Hol­i­day Inn Suva yes­ter­day.

The or­gan­i­sa­tion is a child-led ini­tia­tive un­der Save the Chil­dren Fiji that ad­vo­cates chil­dren’s rights. The man­i­festo con­tains four ma­jor ar­eas that the chil­dren came up with con­cern­ing their safety and se­cu­rity.

These area are: Pub­lic spa­ces, schools, homes and the web. These ar­eas cover the need for chil­dren to be treated with re­spect, dig­nity, love and feel safe phys­i­cally, sex­u­ally and men­tally in these ar­eas. Min­is­ter for Women, Chil­dren and Poverty Alle­vi­a­tion Mere­seini Vu­ni­waqa said: “It is im­por­tant to have plat­forms on which chil­dren’s voices can be heard. “Plat­forms such as this which high­light the in­ter­est of chil­dren and how they fit into greater gov­er­nance struc­ture of an economy.

“To all Fi­jian chil­dren, let me as­sure you that your gov­ern­ment has de­liv­ered prom­ises to see that you get the best avail­able op­por­tu­ni­ties for your health, for your ed­u­ca­tion, for your pro­tec­tion and for your fu­ture so that we do not leave any chil­dren be­hind. “For chil­dren with spe­cial needs and liv­ing with dis­abil­i­ties, you too are not for­got­ten as we will be made to ac­count for the prom­ises we have made as a gov­ern­ment. “The Fiji of to­mor­row will de­pend on how we care and look af­ter our Fi­jian Chil­dren of to­day.” Mrs Vu­ni­waqa high­lighted that this year, 683 cases of abuse against chil­dren had been re­ported of which 63 per cent of the vic­tims were girls and 37 per cent were boys.

“As per the UN def­i­ni­tion, 73 per cent of the re­ported cases can be clas­si­fied as vi­o­lence against chil­dren and this is not some­thing we can ig­nore,” she said. Mrs Vu­ni­waqa says that child abuse and ne­glect had in­creased by 34 per cent over the last two years.

One of the rea­sons of the re­sults was be­cause of ex­ten­sive me­dia and aware­ness cam­paign by gov­ern­ment and rel­e­vant stake­hold­ers.

Edited by Ranoba Baoa

Min­is­ter for Women, Chil­dren and Poverty Alle­vi­a­tion Mere­seini Vu­ni­waqa.

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