Trinidad and Tobago reiterates its commitment to children

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Rodney Charles, Ambassador of Trinidad and Tobago to the United Nations

NARRATOR: Trinidad and Tobago remains dedicated to the promotion and protection of the rights of children.

Ambassador Rodney Charles told the UN General Assembly's Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee that his country's ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, demonstrated Trinidad and Tobago's commitment to the provisions of the instrument.

TAPE: In this regard, Trinidad and Tobago has enacted legislation – referred to as –the "Children's Package" of legislation, which serves to safeguard the rights of children by protecting them from discrimination and violence. The legislation also addresses a range of other issues such as those related to foster homes, adoption, child abduction, family court, the redefinition of offences against children and the use of DNA testing in civil maters. Additional legislation which serves to protect the rights of children include: The Trafficking in Persons Act 2011; The Miscellaneous Provisions Act of 2007 which aims to give effect to the ILO Convention related to the Minimum Age for Admission to Employment and the Domestic Violence Act.

NARRATOR: Ambassador Charles stressed that children are our future and have the potential to bring about the changes we all hope to effect. Thus, for Trinidad and Tobago, he said, their education is of high priority on the national agenda.

TAPE: Consequently, both primary and secondary education in Trinidad and Tobago are compulsory and free, in accordance with the National Education Act of 1996. This Act prohibits the denial of any child fro entry into a public school on any grounds. Additionally, the Equal Opportunities Act of 2000 guarantees equal access for all children to all schools, as well as the enjoyment of the facilities and programmes offered. There are also various grants to assist parents with costs associated with their children's attendance at school. Trinidad and Tobago has therefore achieved and surpassed Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 2 related to the achievement of Universal Primary Education, as well as Target 3 of MDG 3 on Eliminating the Gender Disparity in Primary and Secondary Education.

NARRATOR: Ambassador Rodney Charles pointed out that the Government also ran various social and health programmes, which included the provision of meals and transportation for students, as well as access to free health services. This is Donn Bobb reporting.

Duration:  2’11″

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December 2017
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