Rights of the child convention principles endorsed for inclusion in constitution

Stabroek News
July 13, 1999

The Constitutional Reform Commission agreed on Friday to recommend to the National Assembly that the principles set out in the international convention on the rights of the child be included as guiding principles in Chapter II of the Constitution once its legal experts so advise.

The commissioners have also agreed to recommend for inclusion in the fundamental rights section, the recommendations of its sub-committee which looked at these issues.

These principles from the international convention on the rights of the child are set out in clauses 2 to 5, which address the issues of non-discrimination, the best interest of the child, the evolving capacity of the child and the responsibility of parents for the upbringing of their children.

Discussion on the sub-committee's recommendations to be included in the fundamental rights section was led by Anande Trotman, the representative of women on the commission.

Based on the comments made during the discussion it was agreed that Trotman would redraft the recommendations so that it is clear that their implementation would be subject to the availability of resources.

These recommendations propose, among other things, that except where otherwise provided, all persons under the age of 18 should be considered children; all children born in Guyana to Guyanese parents should be entitled to a name and citizenship of Guyana; all children are entitled to free primary health care; free primary education and thereafter to free education up to and including the secondary level; parental financial maintenance and shelter and that the state should assume this responsibility where the parents/guardians are unable to do so; protection from exploitative labour practices, punishment and abusive practices (including sexually abusive practices) which would be hazardous or interfere with their physical, mental or emotional health.

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