Social Justice

National Child Protection Week

Next week, 4-10 September, is National Child Protection Week.  During the week, Loreto Normanhurst will participate in the awareness raising campaign led by the Catholic Alliance for People Seeking Asylum (CAPSA).  Information about that will be in next week’s newsletter.  But in the meantime I thought you might like to reflect on the ten Principles of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of the Child (1959).  In our current world situation of unprecedented numbers of migrants and refugees, people enduring and fleeing war and terror, and people in refugee camps and in detention, the rights of the child must surely be in the forefront of our thinking and our concern.  Children in these situations are amongst the most vulnerable in the world. We think too of children enslaved as child labourers and trafficked, and children living in abject poverty, malnourished and denied the basics of water, food and medicine.  Reading these ten principles in light of what is happening for so many children today is confronting and cannot fail to disturb us.  In the face of so much trauma, we bring to mind our responsibility to protect the poorest people in our societies  –  and children in these situations are indeed the poorest of the poor.  If you would like to find out more about CAPSA or join the Alliance, here is a link: http://capsa.org.au/contact/

The General Assembly proclaims this Declaration of the Rights of the Child to the end that he may have a happy childhood and enjoy for his own good and for the good of society the rights and freedoms herein set forth, and calls upon parents, upon men and women as individuals, and upon voluntary organizations, local authorities and national Governments to recognize these rights and strive for their observance by legislative and other measures progressively taken in accordance with the following principles:

 

Principle 1

The child shall enjoy all the rights set forth in this Declaration. Every child, without any exception whatsoever, shall be entitled to these rights, without distinction or discrimination on account of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status, whether of himself or of his family.

 

Principle 2

The child shall enjoy special protection, and shall be given opportunities and facilities, by law and by other means, to enable him to develop physically, mentally, morally, spiritually and socially in a healthy and normal manner and in conditions of freedom and dignity. In the enactment of laws for this purpose, the best interests of the child shall be the paramount consideration.

 

Principle 3

The child shall be entitled from his birth to a name and a nationality.

 

Principle 4

The child shall enjoy the benefits of social security. He shall be entitled to grow and develop in health; to this end, special care and protection shall be provided both to him and to his mother, including adequate pre-natal and post-natal care. The child shall have the right to adequate nutrition, housing, recreation and medical services.

 

Principle 5

The child who is physically, mentally or socially handicapped shall be given the special treatment, education and care required by his particular condition.

 

Principle 6

The child, for the full and harmonious development of his personality, needs love and understanding. He shall, wherever possible, grow up in the care and under the responsibility of his parents, and, in any case, in an atmosphere of affection and of moral and material security; a child of tender years shall not, save in exceptional circumstances, be separated from his mother. Society and the public authorities shall have the duty to extend particular care to children without a family and to those without adequate means of support. Payment of State and other assistance towards the maintenance of children of large families is desirable.

 

Principle 7

The child is entitled to receive education, which shall be free and compulsory, at least in the elementary stages. He shall be given an education which will promote his general culture and enable him, on a basis of equal opportunity, to develop his abilities, his individual judgement, and his sense of moral and social responsibility, and to become a useful member of society.

The best interests of the child shall be the guiding principle of those responsible for his education and guidance; that responsibility lies in the first place with his parents.

The child shall have full opportunity for play and recreation, which should be directed to the same purposes as education; society and the public authorities shall endeavour to promote the enjoyment of this right.

 

Principle 8

The child shall in all circumstances be among the first to receive protection and relief.

 

Principle 9

The child shall be protected against all forms of neglect, cruelty and exploitation. He shall not be the subject of traffic, in any form.

The child shall not be admitted to employment before an appropriate minimum age; he shall in no case be caused or permitted to engage in any occupation or employment which would prejudice his health or education, or interfere with his physical, mental or moral development.

 

Principle 10

The child shall be protected from practices which may foster racial, religious and any other form of discrimination. He shall be brought up in a spirit of understanding, tolerance, friendship among peoples, peace and universal brotherhood, and in full consciousness that his energy and talents should be devoted to the service of his fellow men.

 

Thank you to all families who donated to our Days for Girls appeal and to our food drive for the House of Welcome.  Just a reminder that we have an ongoing food collection for the House of Welcome so any time you’re out shopping and are able to pop an extra item into your trolley, your daughter can being that to school.  Tubs for the food items are in all House areas or in the offices of the Heads of House.  Wrap with Love  –  our appeal for knitted squares – is still happening.  Your generosity is greatly appreciated!    

 

Ms Kerry McCullough                

Dean of Mission