A two-day workshop on the Children's Bill and Adoption Bill opened yesterday at the Gold Crest Hotel in Quatre Bornes in the presence of the Minister of Gender Equality Child Development and Family Welfare, Mrs. Roubina Jadoo-Jaunbocus. The aim is to finalise the draft Children's Bill and Adoption Bill.
Participants from the public sector as well as Non-Governmental Organisations are using this forum to deliberate on the provisions towards finalising the draft Bills. Other issues to be addressed during the two days are: institutional mechanism for a better child protection service; age of marriage and age of consent; age of criminal responsibility; child abuse and neglect; among others.
In her address, Minister Jadoo-Jaunbocus, expressed her determination to finalise the Bills which she stressed are of utmost priority to her, as these legislations will ensure the protection and care of the children, who are the most vulnerable components of society. She called for a concerted effort from one and all to contribute to this endeavor, as according to her, it is imperative to take urgent actions to curtail and eliminate both sexual and physical abuse. It is critical to establish solid partnerships in order to tackle the high number of cases prevailing as regards child abuse for which a roadmap has been defined to reach the set goals, she added.
An average of 6000 cases of children victims of violence including abuse, neglect and abandonment are reported on an annual basis at the level of the Ministry of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare. From January to December 2017, 5086 cases were attended to by the Ministry. The number of children victims of different forms of abuse and violence in 2017 are: 2232 boys and 2854 girls registered by the Child Development Unit, whereby children suffered from abandonment; physical abuse, neglect, and other forms of abuse such as mendicity, commercial sexual exploitation and sexual abuse.
Mauritius adhered to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in 1990. As far back as 2006, the Concluding Observation and Recommendations of the CRC Committee recommended that Mauritius, as a State Party to this Convention should review its legislation, so as to ensure full compliance with the principles and provisions of the Convention. In addition, the Committee has recommended the enactment of a comprehensive Children's Act.
Source: Government of Mauritius