Despite progress, challenges remain in protecting children's rights: JamaicaListen /
NARRATOR: Over the last few years, the Government of Jamaica has made considerable progress, through several legislative and institutional changes, to address issues relating to the protection of children.
Ambassador Raymond Wolfe told the General Assembly's Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee that on a legislative front, there's the Jamaica's Child Care and Protection Act of 2004.
TAPE: The Act seeks to protect children from abuse, neglect, exploitation or ill-treatment and makes provision for their educational, physical and emotional needs, and their religious and spiritual views. The Act also makes a clear statement of parental and state responsibilities in the welfare of children, as well as the penalties applicable for failure to discharge the duties and is bolstered by several other pieces of legislation.
NARRATOR: With regard to the institutional framework, Ambassador Wolfe said the Child Development Agency, the lead entity for child protection issues, was complemented by the Office of the Children's Registry, which was tasked with receiving and recording reports and by the Office of the Children's Advocate, which was mandated to represent children in legal matters where their rights had been infringed by government organizations.
TAPE: Despite the progress made, there continues to be challenges in respect of promoting and protecting children's rights in Jamaica. One area of concern is that of violence against children. It is recognized that the phenomenon spans the gamut of children being both victims and perpetrators of violence. In keeping with its commitment to address the issue, the government has drafted the National Plan of Action for an integrated response to Children and Violence for 2011-2016. It is a five-year plan designed to foster an environment that protects children from violence, abuse and exploitation:
NARRATOR: Ambassador Wolfe explained that emphasis was also being placed on strengthening public-private partnerships, community-based programmes and improving parenting skills to ensure that there was a holistic and comprehensive approach to address violence in society.
This is Donn Bobb reporting.