Draft Children’s Bill: Consultative Meeting discusses emerging issues affecting children

A Consultative Meeting, aimed at providing a unique platform for Government and key stakeholders to engage in a constructive dialogue on the Draft Children’s Bill, opened this morning at the Intercontinental Mauritius Resort Balaclava Fort, in Balaclava.

The objective is also to discuss emerging issues affecting children, and, come up with provisions to better protect the rights of children that would be included in the Children’s Bill. Some 100 participants namely NGOs, social workers and legal experts are attending.

In her opening address, the Minister of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare, Mrs Roubina Jadoo-Jaunbocus, underlined that Mauritius is party to major international human rights instruments and also adhered, in 1990, to the Convention on the Child’s Right (CRC). As far back as 2006, the CRC Committee of experts recommended that Mauritius, as a State party, to the Convention has to review its legislations as well as enact a comprehensive Child’s Act to consolidate the various pieces of legislations covering all aspects of the child’s rights, she pointed out.

According to the Minister, consolidated and comprehensive version of the Children’s Bill is long awaited and the contribution of all stakeholders is necessary in this process. We are all joined in this fight to stop violence and abuse against children as in every society and everywhere we go we have to take care of our children, she emphasised.

The Minister spoke of her commitment to fully address children’s protection development and their care needs across the Republic of Mauritius, and express concern that each additional case of child abuse and violence is one too many.

Speaking about the Bill, Mrs Jadoo-Jaunbocus remarked that the best interest of the child will be provided for in line with the CRC. Children shall be consulted before the finalisation of the Bill and this is in line with the CRC in addressing the issue of child participation in matters affecting the child’s right, she announced.

Furthermore, the Minister highlighted that several provisions are being considered for the Bill which relate to namely: the protection of the rights of the child to privacy; circumstances when a child can have recourse to medical, surgical or other treatment and counselling with or without parental consent; establishment of new offences penalties; and, implications of the prevention of corporal punishment in the family.

For his part, the Attorney General, Minister of Justice, Human Rights and Institutional Reforms, Mr Maneesh Gobin, reiterated Government’s commitment in bringing the Children’s Bill to Parliament very soon. This was announced in Government Programme 2015-2019 and it is important to have a comprehensive legislation and consequently hold a consultation process in the wider concept of open Government, he stated.

Source: Government of Mauritius