Coalition of NGOs for Children says new Penal Code violates comprehensive protection of children

Coalition of NGOs for Children says new Penal Code violates comprehensive protection of children
Coalition of NGOs for Children says new Penal Code violates comprehensive protection of children

Declares that the new penal code violates the rights of children and their comprehensive and inclusive protection, violating Law 136-03 and Article 8 of the Dominican Constitution.

Santo Domingo.- The Coalition of NGOs for Children, made up of some 42 national and international organizations, demanded a Criminal Procedure Code that guarantees the protection of children and adolescents and that respects international agreements and current regulations to safeguard children’s rights.

In this regard, they pointed out that the necessary synergy and unity of criteria must be produced, taking into account the best interests of the child, in order to promote a state of well-being and a full life for them, so that, in addition, they have the political will to eradicate any type of discrimination and bias.

The organizations indicated that the Dominican Constitution, in its article 56, of Law number 136-03, which creates the National System for the Protection of Children and Adolescents, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, recognizes the right of children and adolescents to protection against any form of violence, classifying and sanctioning it, as well as sexual and commercial abuse and exploitation.

“Violence and abuse in all its forms, from corporal and emotional punishment to sexual abuse and exploitation, are part of the reality of many children in the Dominican Republic. We are concerned about the weakness in prevention and response to reported cases. Although laws exist, they are not necessarily enforced, nor is sufficient funding allocated for the protection mechanisms provided to work,” denounced Thomas Polanco, coordinator of the NGO Coalition for Children.

Likewise, she stressed that the protection of children is the responsibility of everyone. “First of all, the State, as guarantor of rights, implementing policies for the prevention of these criminal acts, and pursuing those who commit them, giving, at the same time, timely responses to the victims for the restoration of their violated rights,” said Polanco.

On behalf of the organization, Polanco called on citizens to actively participate in the protection of children, reporting any situation of risk or abuse against children that they witness. “It is necessary to develop skills for conscious affection, from a rights-based approach, with love and limits, because children and adolescents need to grow and develop in protective environments,” she said.

Positive Parenting Law

There are currently legal instruments that serve as a national roadmap for the Prevention and Elimination of Violence against Children, and which, five years after their implementation, are lagging behind. Consequently, the Positive Parenting Bill is pending in the National Congress. “The new authorities of the Executive Branch, the Legislative Branch and local governments have a golden opportunity to promote a more dignified life, now and tomorrow, for our children and adolescents. A present that protects and guarantees rights, the future of the next generations and the Dominican Republic being a country for children depend on your will,” the NGOs recalled.

Finally, the Coalition of NGOs for Children is a network of national and international civil society organizations that work for the promotion, restoration and protection of the rights of the most vulnerable children and adolescents in the Dominican Republic.

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