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Child's Rights Week Observed in St. Lucia

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Wednesday, November 15, 2006 – Greater prominence is being given to children's rights during November 13th to the 20th, declared as Child's Rights week. One of the activities during that week, will be the promotion of child health clinics throughout the island.

Community Paediatrician and Manager of the National Child and Adolescent Health Program, Dr. Jacqueline Bird, is encouraging parents to register their children with their nearest community child health clinic, whether they seek private care in the main or not.

“We really do like to know that children are registered because it is the best place to look after them, and the best place to keep their health records. You may have heard about child sexual abuse, the horrors, and its prevention. The St. Lucia Medical and Dental Association is also recognizing Child's Rights Week, by launching the Child Sexual Abuse campaign during the month of November,” Dr. Bird said.

Child's Rights Week provides an opportunity to reaffirm the commitment to children and their safety. The week culminates on November 20th –Universal Children's Day - the day on which the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child in 1959.

According to Dr Bird, “while the UN can't really sanction governments when they do not make sure that those rights are fulfilled, it does impose certain obligations on governments, that are signatories to the convention, to respect children's rights. There is a very harsh and stringent reporting process that really is as good as a sanction when governments do not comply.”

However, while laying down standards, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child takes into account the different cultural, social, economic and political realities of individual states. According to the United Nations “Rights” are things every child should have or be able to do. Those rights are listed in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child as 54 Articles or statements.

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