'Violence isn't discipline, it's abuse': Senior Judge
A Senior Supreme Court Justice has stressed the importance of children shaping Samoa's future and pointed out that the Samoan culture of using violence to discipline children is abuse.
Vui Clarence Nelson attended a conference convened at the Taumeasina Island Resort on Monday as part of a follow-up visit by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC84). The conference will run for three days in the Samoan capital.
In an interview with the media on Monday, Justice Vui stressed that with the many cases going before the courts on a daily basis, he was disheartened by the rise in violence against children cases.
"There are obviously many challenges in our communities and heaps of violence (cases) in families which is not decreasing especially with our knowledge from the side of the Court," said the Senior Supreme Court Justice.
"Many cases involve children and it keeps going up and it's really disheartening. When will the violence stop against our children in terms of sexual violence and sexual abuse, especially within our families? I am really sad with how this is still happening."
In March 2020, the 84th Extraordinary Outreach Session of the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC84) convened in Samoa, marking the first time a United Nations human rights treaty body met outside Geneva or New York.
Justice Vui emphasised that through the revisiting of this initiative and conference, he is hoping that some of the resolutions that were not able to get implemented may be looked into and implemented for a change on this issue.
"I think some of the resolutions were implemented and some haven't and that's why this conference is important, to remind these countries of their commitment through their participation to make this happen when they return to their respective countries," he said.
One of the many cases that remains heart-wrenching for the Senior Supreme Court Justice is the number of cases involving young girls being sexually abused within their own homes which he stressed is also on the rise.
"As I said, the numbers keep growing on such cases and it's really sad to keep seeing this being reported to the courts," he added.
The Senior Supreme Court Justice was the first Pacific Islands judge to be appointed to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in 2014. In 2018 he was re-elected for another four-year term on the UN Committee and served as its Vice Chairperson and the Coordinator of the Working Group on the Optional Protocol on a Communications Procedure before his second term ended last year.
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