February 26, 2011

...Deserved Rights

Yesterday, the Oratorio of Don Bosco's Youth participated in a march in favor of the Rights of the Child. It was a wonderful experience and I feel very blessed to have been able to help coordinate and participate an event that educates and put into action much of what I spend my undergrad studying.
There was a significant amount of children who participated in the march from the Oratorio and other schools in the area came to participate in the march as well. Parents were invited to join, and while there we a handful who did, I noticed that all of them were mothers--no fathers were present. (This is an example of a problem here in the DR. It is not at all uncommon for men to have children with two or three women other than his wife. And here, if a woman is not the wife of the man who impregnated her, the man has absolutely no obligation to the child). Anyway, this is just something I observed.
The march began at the Oratorio and went through the central part of the city of Jarabacoa. A truck with speakers playing music and explaining our purpose headed up the front, followed by dancers from the local dance school, and then the group of about 300 people followed.  Some children held up signs stating basic rights of children that Kristen and I spent the week making and other chanted  and sang along to the music.
We marched for about an hour and a half, being led through the streets off Jarabacoa, escorted by guards holding back traffic.
A surprising amount of people stopped along the side of the road and from their windows to watch us and cheer us on. Our most enthusiastic fan, a man of about 40, decided to show his support by joining us in the march. His chants were cut short fairly quickly however--about the time he  clumsily pulled a half empty bottle from his pants and took a long swig of straight rum...But apparently, I was the only one who even blinked at this behavior. I tell you, there aren't many dull moments here.
So, that was a brief recap of my experience. Now, I'll include a little educational tid-bit (At which point I sense many of you will stop reading and instead briefly skim the below information--if not abruptly close out of this page:) Just kidding...maybe)

For those of you who don't know, the United Nations has nine human rights treaty bodies that monitor the implementation of the core international human rights treaties. One of these nine is the Committee on the Rights of the Child which monitors regulation and implementation on the Convention of the Rights of the Child.  The Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC) was adopted by the UN General Assemly on November 20, 1989 and entered into force on September 2, 1990.

The CRC is based on four core principles:
1.) Principle of non discrimination
2.) The best interests of the child
3.) the right to life, survival and development
4.) Consideration the views of the child in decisions which affect them (according to their age and maturity)

Here is something I found that sums up the ten basic rights of the child, as per the CRC United Nations Declaration (Research by Dr. Qamar Saeed, Karachi)

1.) The child shall be brought up in a spirit of understanding,friendship,peace and universal brotherhood and shall not be exposed to racial,religious or other forms of discrimination. RIGHT OF EQUALITY
 2.) The child shall be protected against all forms of neglect,cruelty,exploitation and traffic and shall not be permitted to employed before an appropriate minimum age.
Children have the right to be protected by all forms of forced labor, commerical sex work, and pornography.  Poor and bonded families often "sell" their children to contractors who promise lucrative jobs in the cities and the children end up being employed in brothels, hotels and domestic work. Many run away and find a life on the streets.
 3.) The child shall, in all circumstances,be among the first to receive protection and relief. Every child has a right to lead a well protected and secure life away from neglect.  Children have the right to protection from abuse, neglect, exploitation and discrimination. This includes the right to safe places for children to play; constructive child rearing behavior, and acknowledgment of the evolving capacities of children.
4.) The child is entitled to free and compulsory elementary education and such an education as is in his best interest for which the parents are to be responsible. Every child has a right to know his basic rights and his position in the society. High incidence of illiteracy and ignorance among the deprived and underprivileged children prevents them from having access to information about them and their society.
5.) The child is entitled to grow up in an atmosphere of affection and oral and material security,with public authorities taking care of children without families or other support. RIGHT OFLOVE. ALL children deserve environmental, cultural and developmental rights, which are sometimes called "third generation rights," and including the right to live in safe and healthy environments and that groups of people have the right to cultural, political, and economic development.
6.) The physically,mentally or socially handicapped child shall be entitled for special treatment,education and appropriate care. ALL children have the right to participate in communities and have programs and services for themselves. Every child has a right to spend some time on recreational pursuits like sports, entertainment and hobbies to explore and develop.     
7.) The child shall have the right to adequate nutrition.housing,recreation and medical services,including special health care and protection and postnatal care for the mother.  Each child is entitled to economic, social and cultural rights, related to the conditions necessary to meet basic human needs such as food, shelter, education, health care, and gainful employment. Included are rights to education, adequate housing, food, water,  the right to work and rights at work,
8.) The child shall be entitled to a name and nationality. Every child has a right to identify himself with a nation.
9.) The child shall enjoy special protection to be able to develop in every way in conditions of freedom and dignity.  Every child has the right to development that lets the child explore her/his full potential. Unfavourable living conditions of underprivileged children prevents them from growing in a free and uninhibited way. Every child has a right to express himself freely in which ever way he likes. Majority of children however are exploited by their elders and not allowed to express.
10.) All children irrespective of their race,color,sex or creed of their parents shall be entitled to these rights. FREEDOM FROM DISCRIMINATION

These rights help enable children to grow up healthy and free. The Dominican Republic signed the Convention on the Rights of the Child on August 8, 1990.  The Convention was ratified by the DR on June 11, 1991.   The CRC is the most widely ratified human rights treaty with 190 ratifications. It is important to note that Somalia and the USA are the ONLY two countries which have not ratified the CRC. Something to think about...
For more info: go to un.org :)

THANKS TO ALL WHO HAVE SUPPORTED ME TO MAKE THIS EXPERIENCE POSSIBLE!!!!

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