Pacific children take centre stage

“It’s within our culture and religion to  discipline our children physically, but sometimes we don’t know the line between discipline and abuse, so usually its confusing for us to find that line.”

“Physical punishment to my family is a daily routine. Even though the UN is strongly against it, it is a daily routine—if we talk back if we do something wrong—physical punishment is the answer.”

These were the comments of two Samoan teenagers, Audrey and Henry,  to members of the United Nations Committee on the Convention of the Rights of the Child meeting in Apia earlier this month.

Audrey and Henry were amongst hundreds of children who participated in events which took place in parallel to the historic gathering, the first UN human rights treaty body meeting ever to be held outside the UN’s New York or Geneva headquarters.

14 Pacific island countries have ratified the CRC. In Samoa, the Committee’s independent experts reviewed efforts by the Federated States of Micronesia, the Cook Islands and Tuvalu in implementing the Convention. They also prepared  Lists of Issues on the Republic of Kiribati, which will formally report to the Committee later in 2020.

To learn about the Committee’s recommendations, get the March issue of Islands Business