Protest for Children’s Rights
By SASHA HARRINANAN Tuesday, March 12 2013
HUMAN rights activist Diana Mahabir-Wyatt yesterday said it is time to stop talking and take action when it comes to children’s rights in this country. Speaking during the afternoon session on day one of the Violence Against Children Conference at the Hyatt Regency in Port-of-Spain, Mahabir-Wyatt urged those present that, “we need to protest for children’s rights the same way we protest over bad roads and lack of water.”
“Children’s rights are human rights and we can’t keep talking about it and not doing anything. We need full enforcement of the legislation meant to protect them and we need it now, not ten or 20 years from now.”
Referring to her position as Chair of the Coalition Against Domestic Violence, she told Newsday “forgive me if I’m a little impatient but for the past 25 years, we’ve been warning about what happens to children who are at risk, who are abused, when they become adults.”
“Many of them become violent men and women,” Maha-
bir-Wyatt added, “some end up killing people and/or committing suicide, yet “after 25 years since those of us at the Coalition Against Domestic Violence first began advocating on behalf of children government after government, all we get are promises.”
Earlier, while moderating a session on “The Way Forward”, at which CATT Chairman, Stephanie Daly shared the authority’s plans to create a new system of caring for children in need, for reporting cases of abuse and for ensuring victims of abuse get proper long-term care, Mahabir-Wyatt spoke bluntly about the reasons behind CATT’s current limited abilities.
“Stephanie (Daly) is too well-spoken to say the Children’s Authority has no funding. They are not getting the kind of Government support, they are not getting the kind of Government funding that they need to truly go out there and ensure the safety and security of our children.”
Mahabir-Wyatt then issued a challenge to those present to “start a revolution” to ensure the package of Children’s Bills are fully proclaimed and a proper working budget be assigned to the CATT.
“It must be very frustrating for the dedicated staff at the Children’s Authority,” she said, “to know exactly what the problems are and how to fix them, yet not have the money or legislation to do what needs to be done. We’re not treating our children properly in this country.
“We really aren’t and that has to stop,” Mahabir-Wyatt declared. Her statement was met with strong approval by the women and men present at the conference.
It remains to be seen what form of action they will take in response to the human rights acti-
The conference continues today and concludes tomorrow.