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Marist activities to raise awareness of children's rights in the District of Melanesia

14/07/2019: Papua New Guinea

During his stay in Bougainville, one of the islands of Papua New Guinea, Brother Andrew Litanga, a child rights advocate from Melanesia District, held a workshop on child rights and protection on 21 June.

More than 80 pre-school and primary school teachers were trained at MariMari House, Arawa, on child abuse, duty of care, child-centred approach and the Lukautim Pikinini Act (the child protection document for Papua New Guinea).

Brother Andrew noted that everyone was greatly interested in the subject and that "many mentioned that this was the first time they had heard such an argument and that during their participation they had learned new things which they had not known about children's rights and protection". He added: "During the presentation, I helped the audience to better realise and understand the fundamental rights of the individual. That all students have equal rights in school, regardless of their status.

Following his visit to the schools, Br Andrew also presented in mid June at St Joseph Mabiri School, a Conference on the Rights and Protection of Children under the title "We are all equal".

Brother Andrew was also at St Michel's School in Santo from 17-21 June, working with students and teachers to raise awareness of children's rights.

The activities carried out in the District to promote the rights of the child are in tune with the request of the General Councillors, Brothers Ben and Joseph Maria, who during their visit in March of this year, asked the District to draft or revise their child protection document.

"The district's child protection document was published in 2012 and we decided to revise it in 2018. The District Child Protection Document - already revised - provides general guidance to promote and protect the rights and welfare of all children in our care in the District of Melanesia," concluded Br. Andrew.

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