MNAs to make it ‘right for children’


Minister Mondon addressing the parliamentarians and guests at the launch for the workshop

This is after learning more about the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and its concluding observations for Seychelles for the year 2011.

The UNCRC is a human rights treaty setting out the civil, political, economic, social, health and cultural rights of children.

It generally defines a child as any human being under the age of eighteen.
The half-day workshop was organised last week by the National Council for Children (NCC) and it was held in the presence of the Designated Minister Vincent Meriton who is also the Minister for Social Affairs, Community Development and Sports.

The Speaker of the National Assembly Dr Patrick Herminie and Education Minister Macsuzy Mondon also attended the meeting.

Also there were the leader of government business and of the opposition in the National Assembly -- Marie-Antoinette Rose and David Pierre.

The social affairs principal secretary Linda Melanie was also present as well as the NCC director Ruby Pardiwalla.

The aim of the workshop was to educate members of the National Assembly (MNAs) about the concluding observation of the convention on the rights of the child made by the United Nations (UN) committee on the Rights of the Child in Geneva last year.

Minister Mondon said on November 20 this year, “we will commemorate the 23rd anniversary of the UNCRC.

“The convention was adopted unanimously in 1989 and came into force a mere nine months later, establishing a UN record.”

A total of 191 out of 193 countries have ratified the convention making it the most widely ratified convention, she added.

Mrs Mondon said in Seychelles, “we have come a long way and done a lot for our children, but we must not overlook the fact that much still remains to be done to achieve compliance”.

She said recently members of the assembly debated on victims of abuse and sexual exploitation and last week, the government reacted strongly to the US trafficking in persons report.

“Juvenile rehabilitation is also high on the agenda and needs to be given serious consideration.”
Data disaggregation and analysis are still weak links in the system hindering proper evidence based research that would go a long way in guiding policies, she said.

Mrs Mondon added that in September last year Seychelles presented its second state party report to the UNCRC committee in Geneva.

And this committee came up with 76 recommendations that Seychelles would have to meet to ensure compliance within the next five years.

“We are appealing to you today as the principal representative institution of the state, to be the key champions of child protection,” she told the MNAs.

Mrs Mondon told the parliamentarians that they have the capacity not only to influence the decisions and actions of government but also to connect with communities and constituencies to influence opinions and actions.

In her presentation, Ms Pardiwalla said parliamentarians can play a greater role in elaborating a detailed plan of action to carry out the recommendations of the UN committee of the Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC).

There are over 40 recommendations in the CRC concluding observations for 2011 and the government must work to carry them out.

They must make the recommendations widely known and put them into practice before the next reporting date which is April 6, 2016.

The recommendations include ratifying the optional protocol on the sale of children prostitution and child pornography as soon as possible and introducing a law that defines trafficking with appropriate punishment to protect children who are victims of trafficking and prostitution.