JIS News

Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Fund, Juan Carlos Espinola, has said that there was no justification for violence against children, noting that their vulnerability and dependence on adults demand protection, not harm.
“Physical violence against children may not be fatal or cause permanent or serious visible physical injury, but can be detrimental to a child’s psychological development and well-being, because while children are known to be resilient, they are vulnerable,” Mr. Espinola said, yesterday (Oct. 25) as he addressed the opening of the two-day Caribbean Child Research Conference at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel.
He added that the family, whether extended or immediate, was a fundamental part of personal development and should “provide a safe and affectionate environment for self expression, important to the development of personality and talents”.
Stating that the UN was committed to upholding the rights of children, he pointed out that 192 states had ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child, indicating that “globally we are all aware of how important it is to protect our children and to provide them with all the resources necessary for early childhood development and continued growth. The Convention principally enshrines children’s participation in all matters affecting children, an area of importance sorely lacking in our region’s implementation strategies”.
As a region working towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), active involvement of children and their parents to effect execution must be encouraged and allowed, Mr. Espinola said.
“Researching areas that hinder and affect childhood development is essential to policy planning. This conference is therefore crucial to highlighting areas of concern and matters requiring immediate action,” he asserted. Mr. Espinola said that due to the impact that childhood experiences had on the development or decline of cognitive skills and personality it was important that “we ensure youth are provided a secure and healthy future, including an environment of quality, improved standards of living and access to education and employment”. These were all issues which the UN has designated as priority, he said, “because we recognize the important role children play in sustainable development. For development assistance to be effective, it needs to be fully aligned with national priorities and needs. The social welfare of Jamaica’s children is a national priority”.
Held under the theme, ‘Promoting Child Rights Through Research’, the conference, is the first of its kind to be hosted in the English-speaking Caribbean. The forum will present a wide range of research topics with children as the common focus and aims to disseminate the findings of contemporary research in order to improve the awareness of the current situation of children in the Caribbean, and bring about effective improvement mechanisms. It will encourage further research and inform further programming and planning of interventions to benefit children.
Among the organizations that have partnered to host the conference are: the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF); Planning Institute of Jamaica; Child Development Agency; Ministries of Health, and Education and Youth; Sir Arthur Lewis Institute for Social Economic Studies, and the Caribbean Child Development Centre of the University of the West Indies; Early Childhood Commission, and Children Issues Coalition.

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