PRESS RELEASE – THE findings of an OECS/UNICEF assessment of the Child Justice System in Saint Lucia indicate that the island is a gradually emerging child rights-based society. This momentum initially started in 1993 when Saint Lucia ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child, to be followed by the signing of two more protocols in October 2013.
Officials who spoke at last Wednesday’s opening ceremony, including UNICEF Representative for the Caribbean Office Dr. Aloys Kamuragiye, noted that Saint Lucia was highly-recognized for having already signed international legal instruments such as the Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict and the Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography.
Following the consultation, stakeholders are now poised to develop a robust National Action Plan (NAP) to address critical legislative and policy frameworks needed for the full compliance of Government’s Child Protection and Juvenile Justice Commitments.
Minister for Home Affairs, Justice and National Security, Senator Hermangild Francis attended part of the three-day consultation. He said Government stands firmly behind the process to enhance the lives of children and youth.
“We must all raise the bar to exceed, not just meet the Convention on the Rights of the Child. We want to see the implementation of legal and policy frameworks that will improve the well-being of children and juveniles in our society,” said Francis.
Discourse on Saint Lucia’s child justice Country Report was led by consultant Jacqueline Sealy-Burke, who examined system-strengthening and the fortification of coordination mechanisms between government stakeholders and civil society. The consultation commenced on Wednesday, February 7 and concluded on Friday, February 9.
The Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) in partnership with the United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF) commissioned an assessment of the child justice systems across all nine OECS States.