The well-being and protection of the child was the focus of a half-day workshop on Human Rights and Children's Rights, organised at the Renganaden Seeneevassen State Secondary School in Port-Louis by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). The Minister Counsellor of the European Union (EU) delegation, Mrs Carla Osorio, the Chairperson of the NHRC, Mr D.B Seetulsingh and the Ombudsperson for Children's Office, Mrs Rita Venkatasamy, were present.

The college students of Grade 10 and 12 participated in the workshop which is being held in the context of the European Union Funded Project, Promotion of Respect for Human Rights in Mauritius and Rodrigues.

In her address, Mrs Osorio underpinned the role of the EU in designing policies within the best interests of children and ensuring that international standards of the rights of children are respected by Member states. On this score, she emphasised on the importance of empowering children with appropriate sensitisation programmes while adding that there should be proper awareness of the protection of human rights and fundamental freedom.

For his part, Mr Seetulsingh underlined that the younger generation as future ambassadors should be familiarised with the rich history of Mauritius through a broadened knowledge of various historical sites. He added that the mandate of the NHRC is to protect human rights as well as review the safeguard provided by or under any enactment for the protection of human rights.

According to Mrs Venkatasamy, the key responsibility of the organisation is to ensuring that the rights, needs and interests of children are given full consideration by public bodies, private authorities, individuals and associations of individuals. The Ombudsperson for Children's Office also ascertains that the legislation, policies and practices concerning the children are in compliance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child, she added.

The Children's Bill, she said, will provide the legal framework for better protection and care of children's rights as well as significantly help to tackle child-related challenges. She urged the students to condemn acts which violate their basic human rights while adding that the youth can equally contribute in solving societal problems.

Source: Government of Mauritius