The Daily Herald writes that the Kingdom Task Force for Children’s Rights presented its plan of approach to improve children’s rights in the Dutch Caribbean on Thursday. The plan was released at the Children’s Rights Summit in Leiden and has been sent to the Dutch Parliament. Meanwhile, St. Maarten is setting up its own National Task Force to give local follow-up.
The most important priorities in the Kingdom Task Force’s plan of approach are preventing violence against children, the central role of the family, the role of parents in the upbringing of their children, creating a safety net and activities aimed at children’s development besides education and the presence of organisations, such as a children’s ombudsman and children’s hotline.
The plan was drawn up with the input of all four countries in the Kingdom. It advocates assistance close to children and families at schools, in neighbourhoods and at home. Assistance has to be clear and accessible. The point of departure for every child in need of help is one family, one plan and one person in charge.
The so-called broad school concept used in the Netherlands, which combines education with facilities such as afterschool care, sports andgeneral wellbeing of children and their families, also can be applied in the Dutch Caribbean. This will contribute positively to children’s development, also outside school, and provide relief for working parents.
The decision to establish a Children’s Rights Task Force was taken at the Kingdom Conference on Aruba in April following the publication of the United Children’s Fund UNICEF Nederland reports on children’s rights in the Dutch Caribbean. The reports showed that children’s rights were being violated on the islands, with poverty being one of the main reasons. UNICEF called for an integrated approach to improve children’s rights.
The Task Force aims to stimulate cooperation within the Kingdom in the area of children’s rights. Representatives of Aruba, Curaçao, St. Maarten and the Netherlands work together in the Task Force.
The plan of approach released on Thursday is the first step for an action plan that will be ratified at the next Kingdom Conference in Curaçao in April 2015. Dutch Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Ronald Plasterk called it “unacceptable” that children in the Dutch Kingdom were missing out on essential rights. He sent the Task Force’s plan of approach to the Dutch Parliament on Thursday. Plasterk mentioned the Task Force and the plan of approach in his video message at Thursday’s Children’s Right Summit in Leiden. “Last year we received a critical report of UNICEF Nederland. We didn’t close our eyes and decided to take action,” said Plasterk. The plan of approach was distributed at the summit.[…]