- Press Release, Belize National Committee for Families and Children (NCFC), April 20, 2015 - Belize became the fifth country to ratify the UN convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). This CRC document has since become the most widely ratified convention and human rights instrument in the world. It is testament to our country’s recognition of the importance of caring for our children and nurturing them to be responsible and productive citizens. A commitment that obligated our Government to enact laws and policies that creates the enabling environment for children to flourish and reach their full potential.
One of the obligations to our children is to protect them from all forms of exploitation, abuse and neglect. Article 19 of the CRC states that, “Children should be protected from being hurt and mistreated in body or mind”. Keeping this in mind, the recent death of 11-month-old baby Mia is both startling and heartbreaking. According to the media, “Mia Eusebia Lopez died from severe cerebral edema resulting from multiple skull fractures, due to blunt force trauma to the head.” NCFC views these findings troubling and is deeply concerned about the welfare of the other two children in that household; especially since parents are the first line of defense; they are to ensure the safety and protection of their children as well as provide a safe dwelling place. Therefore, NCFC calls on all relevant authorities to conduct a thorough investigation into this incident and asks that the fullest extent of the law be applied in the case of a guilty verdict.
As a community we must firmly embrace the notion that children also have rights and that these rights MUST be adhered to at all times. Too often in the past, criminal acts against children have gone unpunished. However, perpetrators SHOULD bear in mind that whenever children are abused or seriously harmed, there will be severe penal repercussions. A zero tolerance approach against child abuse of any kind must be the stance throughout the length and breadth of Belize.
As one of the principal advocates for children’s rights, we remain constant in encouraging the media to participate in the ongoing dialogue about protecting our children in a more substantive manner. Become a part of this movement by sharing information, questioning and investigating and to constructively call to task the many players in the child protection sector. Be a voice on behalf of the Belizean children and help us create awareness of the issues that impact their lives.
In addition to this, the NCFC also takes this opportunity to appeal to families, guardians and the community at large to take care of our children. Listen and talk to your children about being safe. In fact, we all have a part to play in providing a safe and healthy environment to our future leaders and to commit to creating spaces where children can know they are nurtured and protected. It’s our collective responsibility to make Belize worthy of its children.
NCFC - “Championing the Rights, Welfare and Development of Belizean Families and Children” - End of Release -