Caribbean governments support UN campaign on ending violence against children

Barbados- 16 November, 2012 – Caribbean ministerial delegations will focus on ending sexual violence against children when they meet at the Hilton Barbados Resort from 20 to 21 November 2012 for a conference themed “Combating Sexual Violence Against Children – From Isolated Actions to Integrated Strategies”, which is being convened within the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General’s UNiTE campaign to End Violence Against Women.

The Government of Barbados and UN Caribbean offices will host the conference, which is also being supported by the British High Commission in Bridgetown and the United States Embassy for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean.

Barbados’ Minister of Family, Culture, Sports and Youth, Hon. Stephen Lashley; UN Resident Coordinator for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Ms. Michelle Gyles-Mc Donnough,;CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque; and UNICEF Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, Mr. Bernt Aasen, will address the Opening Ceremony.

The conference will bring together ministers with responsibility for child protection, along with experts in child protection, law, policy reform, health and other sectors to identify coordinated responses to the problem. Delegations from Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, Saint Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, the Turks and Caicos Islands, and the British Virgin Islands are expected to attend.

The main objectives of the conference are to create a network of participating countries that can share initiatives on ending violence against children and to produce a country-level action agenda. The anticipated outcome will be a political commitment to the implementation and enforcement of mandatory reporting policies and the resolution of child sexual abuse cases by professionals.

This conference is being convened on the heels of a special CARICOM Council on Human and Social Development (COSHOD) meeting, held in Guyana in July 2012, where ministers from throughout the Caribbean sub-region expressed grave concern about the alarming prevalence of sexual abuse of children in Member States and in their Communiqué pledged to develop an “integrated approach – combining strong responsive and preventive measures that emphasize child care and protection, and those to end impunity.”

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