“Child rights in Samoa often misunderstood”

A consultation seminar on child rights yesterday heard that the rights of children aren’t black or white and are often misunderstood.

Seminar facilitator Muliagatele Dr. Potoa’e Roberts Aiafi of Oceania SMART Consulting said it the reason why consultations on such issues were very important. 

“Children’s rights aren’t a black and white thing this is why it’s often misunderstood, this is why we need to consult the communities about this topic because there’s always the mentality that it’s a western thing, that rights are an overseas concept,” she said.

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Staff from the Ministry of Women Community and Social Development had convened the seminar for representatives from Upolu communities to consult, make awareness, and seek advice and support for the Child Rights Protection Bill. 

 “But its clear cut, it says the parents are responsible for their kids and the question that comes up is, if the parents neglect their children, who is responsible?” she asked.

“There have been kids who go through this, like street vendors, that is abuse in itself. That’s abuse and neglect because they are being exposed to various risks and that is what we’re trying to deliver here today. Everyone has rights but it’s to a certain extent of course so we’re here to communicate that.”

Held at the Tooa Salamasina Hall, the Upolu consultation was attended by men, women and youth representatives – where they discussed solutions on how to improve services in terms of primary prevention, responsive services and legislative compliance.

The seminar commenced with an opening prayer, followed by keynote remarks which was were delivered by the acting Assistant Chief Executive Officer, Susuga Latu Afioga – who highlighted the Ministry’s leading role in the preparation and programs that advised of the improvement of childcare protection in Samoa.

The Ministry will host a similar consultation seminar for Savai’i tomorrow.

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