MESSAGE BY MINISTER FOR HEALTH AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
HONOURABLE CARVIN MALONE
IN OBSERVANCE OF UNIVERSAL CHILDREN’S DAY
20th NOVEMBER 2019
Greetings to everyone at home and abroad. We are giving recognition to the United Nation’s Universal Children’s Day which was established in 1954. This day, designed to celebrate and promote international togetherness, awareness among children worldwide, and improving children's welfare is observed every year on November 20th.
November 20th is also the date in 1989 when the United Nations General assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child which the Virgin Islands was pleased to ratify.
Universal Children's Day also marks the anniversary of the date that the UN General Assembly adopted both the declaration and the convention on the rights of the child.
Universal Children’s Day should be a day when we celebrate the children in the territory.
Celebrate small accomplishments such as doing well on a test, exam or project; their ability to tie their shoes on their own; performing chores without being prompt; waking up early -- and -- all other small or significant activities or milestones.
In our roles as fathers, mothers, teachers, nurses, doctors, government leaders, civil society activists, religious and community leaders and coaches; children look to us as protectors of their safety and of their childhood.
The Virgin Islands made a powerful statement on the international stage when it ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child – joining the majority of countries around the world in committing to creating the best developmental, protective and creative environment for ALL children.
In every part of the world, there are examples of how the Convention has impacted law and practice. In the Virgin Islands and the first generation growing up under the CRC has witnessed some outstanding achievements to promote sound development and protection such as the Child Maintenance & Access Act, 2017; the Children & Young Persons Act, 2005 and the Youth Court Act, 2005.
Progress has been made in child health, immunization, education, legislation and other social infrastructure. The first generation of children in our territory who have grown up under the CRC have done well.
However, we still have a far way to go towards creating the Caribbean fit for all children that we are working towards.
Some of the challenges facing us include:
- High prevalence of child abuse, including sexual abuse and neglect; and
- The current economic situation exposing increasing number of children to poverty.
As we observed Universal Children’s Day on November 20th and the remainder of the month it is a good opportunity to recommit to removing the remaining stumbling blocks to the attainment of children’s rights.
Our children deserve our love, advocacy, focus and attention today and every day.
Let us each do our part. I give thanks.