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The National Committee for Families and Children (NCFC) joins the nation in mourning the tragic loss of another innocent Belizean child. It is truly a tragic outcome.  Media reports about the questionable circumstances surrounding the tragic death of baby Janeeka Campbell leaves the NCFC with grave concerns and a number of questions.  

The death of any child is regrettable.  Sadly, the recent results of the Belize Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey 2015 indicate that children below the age of five experience the most severe forms of violence against them. 

It is our collective responsibility to ensure that parents have all the support they need to raise happy and healthy children. Together, with its partners the NCFC continues to work on strengthening the support that Government and NGOs give to families. However, as citizens one needs to remember that “it takes a village to raise a child”. 

The general public is reminded that every citizen has a moral obligation to act when they see warning signs of violence against children and report all suspected cases of child abuse to the relevant authorities.

The NCFC is seriously concerned about the levels of violence that children experience and therefore continues to call on communities to remember that the need to come to a collective consensus that violence against children should never be tolerated.  The state, civil society and non-governmental organizations must coordinate amongst themselves to ensure that the services they provide reach those families and children who need them most.   

The media is urged to participate in the ongoing dialogue about protecting children in a more substantive manner by using the responsibility they have to share information, to question, to investigate and to be a voice on behalf of children and help create awareness of the issues that impact their lives.

In accordance with Part II Section 5-(1) of the Families and Children Act, Chapter 173 Revised Laws of Belize Edition 2011,states  “it should be the duty of a parent, guardian, or any person having custody of the child to maintain that child and in particular, that duty gives a child the right to a proper life. Subsection 5-(2) also states “it shall be the duty of any person having custody of a child to use his best efforts to protect the child from discrimination, violence, abuse and neglect”. 

Parents are urged to utilize and make most of the services that are available to them by the state and NGOs when they feel they need help. 

As the Christmas season begins, the NCFC would like to encourage parents to consider positive discipline methods. Teaching children self-control and acceptable behavior is an integral part of child discipline. NCFC along with parents and guardians needs to work together to ensure that they strive towards non-violence and avoid these kinds of incidents from reoccurring.  After all, children’s safety should be this country’s sole responsibility.

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Solani Graniel

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