Universal Children’s Day was established by the United Nations in 1954 and is observed annually on November 20th.
This year, November 20th is also observed as the World Day of Prayer and Action for children which brings people together to pray and take action for the well-being of children. This year the theme is “Stop Violence Against Children”
The Social Welfare Division encourages all faith-based organizations to use this Sunday as a day of Prayer for the children and also to get them to participate in church activities.
Other activities planned in observance of that day include:
A schools rally on Wednesday November 23rd in Roseau starting at 9am to culminate at the Arrawak House of Culture where the students will put on various performances
The second activity include a Secondary Schools debate on Friday November 25th from 9am at the Arrawak House of Culture.
The general public is welcome to participate in both activities.
Violence affects children in every country of the world. Girls and boys of all ages and from all social backgrounds, religions and cultures may experience violence. It occurs in schools, institutions (such as orphanages, other residential care settings and prisons), on the streets and in the workplace. Children also experience violence at home, within their family, from community leaders and by other children.
Many children, especially girls, are exposed to gender-based violence and harmful practices, including female genital mutilation/cutting, prenatal sex selection, female infanticide, child marriage and honor-related violence.
Every day in the Caribbean at least one child becomes a victim of violence. This is one child too many. Violence against children can take the form of physical, emotional and sexual abuse.
In the Caribbean stranger abuse, while it happens, is rare. Most children are abused by persons whom they know and trust.
It is important to report child abuse to the relevant authorities. Keeping silent in an attempt to protect the image of persons and institutions (including the church) will not make the problem go away.
The scale and extent of violence against children provides a compelling and urgent call to all members of society to take action to protect our children from all forms of abuse and violence.
The time to start is right now!