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Aug 23, 2011

UNICEF puts children rights at center of development in Belize

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is at the forefront of issues affecting children and adolescents.  The situation of children and women were analyzed by UNICEF to determine the challenges and progress made since the United Nations adopted the convention on the rights of the child. That report will be released this Wednesday, but today UNICEF put education and health at the center of their development. News Five’s Delahnie Bain reports.

Delahnie Bain, Reporting

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is hosting a two-day conference in San Ignacio to launch the Situational Analysis on Women and Children in Belize. While the findings will be revealed on Wednesday, discussions were held today on issues affecting children in Belize. The UNICEF representative in Belize, Christine Norton, explains what the analysis is all about.

Christine Norton, UNICEF Representative, Belize

Christine Norton

“We have done an ecological review of the situation of children, which means that we have looked at things more broadly and more holistically. We have tried to look at the conditions that have an impact on children’s lives and what we have learned is that there’s a web of factors that impacts children’s lives and in order for us to deal with the issues that affect children negatively we would need to address in a more integrated way; issues related to health and education. I think an important message that emerges from it is that we need to invest early, we need to invest in changing the conditions and we need to be able to do this consistently across the life cycle in a way that makes different partners work together if we want to make the change.”

Paulo Sergio Pinhiero

The analysis is done every five years in conjunction with UNICEF’s five year program cycle and it’s an initiative applauded by the experts that are in Belize for the conference.

Prof. Paulo Sergio Pinhiero, Commissioner, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

“I have read this situational analysis on women and children; it’s decisive for governments to define social policies but it’s also very important for civil societies because civil societies must be very well informed about the concrete situation to define and to fight for the protection of the rights of the child.”

Marta Santos Pais, Special Rep., Secretary Gen. on Violence against Children

Marta Santos Pais

“It’s very difficult for a country to adopt the best policy agenda and to be clear about what is the most strategic intervention at any time to put children at the center of the development and the progress of society on a whole if it doesn’t have an analysis of where there is progress, where there are challenges, who are the children at greater risk and how can we support addressing the problems that are identified.”

Carmen Rosa Villa Quintana

Carmen Rosa Villa Quintana, Regional Rep., Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

“This report is not only the situation of your people, I think that this covers the whole situation that is happening in Central America. The worst figures appeared in Central America and we will try to present recommendations to prevent because within that we don’t need to do only repressive issues or politics. I think the most important issue is to combine, to weigh what is happening with repression, but invest a lot in prevention.”

The event is being held in collaboration with the National Committee for Families and Children, which has implemented a national plan of action to protect the rights of children.

Pearl Stuart, Executive Dir., National Committee for Families and Children

Pearl Stuart

“The National Plan of Action (NPA) for Children and Adolescents 2004 through 2015 requires stronger government/civil society partnerships to achieve its goals. Through this medium we hope to make a stronger case for your support because children do not live in a vacuum and they grow up as part of a family, a community, a culture, and a nation. Because multiple institutions are responsible for the fulfillment of their rights, a child center approach also requires strengthening social systems for care and well being of the entire society.”

Delahnie Bain for News Five.

We’ll have details of the findings in the 2011 situation analysis on children and women in Wednesday’s newscast.

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