The visiting Special Representative of the UN Secretary General (SRSG), Marta Santos Pais along with the Solomon Islands Government are pushing to fight against violence against children.
The visit into the country supplemented this effort, urging the government on a five year programme on eliminating violence against children.
She acknowledged government’s efforts and progress made towards passing the Child and Family Welfare Bill this year.
“It is key for the protection of children from violence that the Child and Family Welfare Bill is enacted and implemented, and the Family Protection Act effectively enforced,” said Ms. Santos Pais.
She added, this is important in preventing and ending violence against children and strengthening government services, especially the social welfare department services to secure child protection.
“It is also key to pair legal and policy commitments with increasing efforts in working with families and commitments with increasing efforts in working with families and communities to overcome the social acceptance of violence against children.”
Ms Pais also acknowledged government’s commitment in allocating the Civil Registration Office within its budget of 1 million to further strengthen current birth registration efforts in the country.
Assuring the government in the joint fight, Ms Pais said, support from her office in partnership with UNICEF and UN agencies in Solomon Islands to strengthen child protection and end violence against children will be readily available.
Prime Minister Sogavare said, the visit of the Representative of the UN Secretary General on Child Protection to the country is significant as the world is fighting the same issue of violence against children.
“Child abuse and economic exploitation of children are a real occurrence in Solomon Islands and there is a need for urgent action to prevent children from being subjected to those conditions.”
He said, Solomon Islands may have been perceived as needing to do more in this area because if its inherent cultural and social circumstances.
“The government is committed to work with relevant UN agencies and other international organisations to minimize the ramifications that violence against children may have on Solomon Islands society.
“This includes enacting necessary additional legislations to protect the rights of children and prevent incidents of violence against them,” said Prime Ministers, Sogavare.
PM Sogavare added Solomon Islands constitution guarantees fundamental rights and freedoms to all including children but in addition there is a need for relevant laws to be aligned with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The recent Family Protection Act 2014 had made major in roads to addressing the issue of violence against children in a family setting.
More so there has been the setting up of referral networks such as the Ministry of health, RSIPF, Family Support Centre and Christian Care Centre that have made it easier to deal with violence against children cases while noting that more can be done to address this issue on a national front, said the Prime Minister.
By BRADFORD THEONOMI