Al Seymour

Child protection a global concern

  • Sins of the father: young people are our greatest assets but the world has not always acted as such on the evidence of abuses that have had a crippling effect on their development as productive citizens (Photograph courtesy of Humanium)

Every society on this planet should be involved in upgrading efforts to protect children who are most vulnerable to military conflicts, along with vicious regimes that abuse and enslave them as workers without being held accountable.

Children also suffer in countries that are considered modern owing to a high standard of economic success.

The world will never be truly safe without better protection for children, who too often are at the mercy of various governments around the world without a voice. It is a situation that varies from country to country. There are countries today where children as young as 5 are enslaved as workers in the fishing industry. Poverty and corruption feed into this type of child abuse, which is usually exposed by daring reporters.

The real tragedy is that even with exposure of such terrible abuse of children, not much changes once the story fades from the headlines.

The world needs to be more sensitive to children who are victims of poverty, injustice and power struggles with international implications. There are not enough cameras and reporters to cover every child dying in a dark room of starvation and a lack of medical attention; just another statistic in the suffering of so many children who will never play peacefully in the sunshine.

In countries that enjoy reasonable economic success, and Bermuda would be included, children still need to be protected from various forms of abuse, along with an underworld of social distractions, including illegal drugs that harm the mind and body. It is encouraging that the subject of child protection even in America made global headlines when children were forcefully separated from parents over immigration policies.

Any policy that would permit children to be ripped from the arms of their parents, and in some cases never to see each other again, is obviously not in line with what most people would consider in protecting human dignity.

The outcry from most of America over such treatment was an indication that the welfare of the child was disregarded by authorities. When a child is traumatised and in a state of shock, it could take a lifetime to recover. That part of the story is seldom told.

When any child is abused, be it by a family member or by someone else, or even by authorities in some regions, it is a sad time. Life for children these days is a challenge even in the best of family environments with so many negative distractions that are part of our world today.

Children are supposed to represent the future. They will be able to carry that torch only if provided with values that include truth, dignity, justice and respect.

When any country falls short in keeping those values as a priority for daily living, the opening for evil seeds to take root could create dangers to those who strive for a peaceful and decent society.

The protection of children is the only way to protect our future.