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Monday, November 29, 2010

Declaration of the Rights of the child

On Saturday, November 22nd Michigan Peace Team was invited to accompany a march and rally held in central park, close to the border. The rally was held in honor of the anniversary of the Declaration of Rights for the Child. Central park is in the middle of a very busy area, one side of the park is located in the business district, and the other with colonias and housing. In the morning we rode with the children on busses that went to the neighborhoods: Mexico 68, Granjas, Divison Del Norte and Primero de Mayo.

After arriving at the park the Centro de Derechos Humanos gave a presentation to the kids on their rights and the rules for the event. The children were asked to make signs and banners for the march that was going to take place. The banners varied but they were all directed towards the rights of children.

The Declaration of the Rights of the Child includes 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.

In Juarez, the rights of children, as well as others, are being ignored at an alarming rate. Children in Juarez face an impoverished, dangerous, and unsafe childhood from which the government can offer no protection. The violcence in Juarez is random, all sides are mixed, and no one really knows who they are fighting. The government can not offer protection because they don’t know who they are protecting and who they are fighting, or when the violence is going to happen. Some of our own neighbors our Narco’s, there is nothing we can do but say “Good morning” when we walk by. When its dark outside children must go inside, not because they have school in the morning but because parents do not want them to be taken or killed.

Every day Nina and I listen to gunfire, and know that someone’s life is being taken. Last night there was over 30 gunshots at around 4A.M in the listening proximity of our house. On Friday there was a gunfight wih around ten shots. The violence here never ends.

*NOTE* I will add pictures from the march later today.

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