CARICOM condemns all forms of violence against children and reaffirms commitment to the recommendations of the UN Study VAC

Georgetown (Guyana) 13 July 2012 - At the the Twenty-Third Meeting of the Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD) on Children and Youth, held in Georgetown, Guyana, CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque called for greater investment in evidence-based policies and sustainable social programmes to address violence against children and youth.

Mr. LaRoqcue urged Ministers with responsibility for children and youth to “challenge concertedly and decisively the deeply entrenched cultural practices and norms that condone violence and violate the rights of our children and youth.”

The meeting counted on the participation of representatives of Governments from the CARICOM region as well as Directors of Youth and representatives of regional institutions and international organisations including the Foundation for the Development of Caribbean Children (FDCC); the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF); UNAIDS; the Commonwealth Youth Programme (CYP); International Labour Organizations ; UN Women; International Organisation for Migration (IOM); United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) among other partners.

Violence against children and youth

Within the context of a report on the outcomes of the Sub-Regional Meeting to follow up on the UN Secretary-General’s study on violence against children in the Caribbean,  COHSOD also discussed the issue of  violence in the school setting, noting its long term negative effects on individuals, families and communities.

The Meeting mandated the CARICOM Secretariat to work with Member States to develop a regional strategy to address school violence, with a focus on:

The sharing of legislation and the development of model legislation

The development of a minimum set of anti-violence interventions

Identification and sharing of best practices on safe schools, safe spaces and safe community models

COHSOD reaffirmed the commitment of Member States to implement the recommendations of the United Nations study agreeing that Member States would, within one year, work toward elaborating comprehensive violence prevention policies, plans and strategies for children.

Towards full prohibition of corporal punishment

COHSOD received a summary of the Progress Report 2012 on prohibiting corporal punishment of children in the Caribbean and recommended that careful consideration be given to alternative strategies to corporal punishment of children in schools for discussion by the Meeting of the COHSOD on Education later in 2012 and committed to the prevention of violence against children, including through these alternative strategies.

Sexual abuse of children

COHSOD condemned all forms of sexual abuse of children and endorsed the convening of a Regional Task Force to develop a strategic plan to address this phenomenon

Review of the regional Framework for Action for children

The COHSOD acknowledged the progress which has been made in implementing the Regional Framework for Action for Children - particularly in the areas of Early Childhood Care and Development (ECD), Child Rights, Child protection and Child Health.