Santo Domingo, January 29, 2019. The NGO Coalition for Children called on the whole society to promote the strengthening of the National Protection System, as a way to guarantee the rights of children and adolescents and prevent violence against Children as established in the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Code for the Protection of the Fundamental Rights of Children and Adolescents (Law 136-03).
The Coalition noted the important gaps that exist in the implementation of Law 136-03 and in public policies; as the fact that in the country, since 2007, an evaluation of the National Protection System has not been carried out, to determine the progress, weaknesses, and strengths of said system, which allows defining a national plan that responds to the findings of such evaluation.
Other challenges that stand out are child marriage and early unions, allowed by current legislation; corporal punishment as a method of correction that covers more than 60% of infants; teenage pregnancy, reaching a rate of 22%; among other problems that limit the enjoyment and full exercise of the rights of Dominican children and adolescents, child labor, absence of public policies for children with families deprived of liberty or because of femicide, tolerance against problematic of the commercial sexual exploitation of girls, boys and adolescents, among other problems that limit the enjoyment and full exercise of the rights of Dominican children and adolescents. Understand that it becomes necessary:
- Support the strengthening of the National Protection System: prioritizing actions of CONANI for the installation of municipal offices, municipal directories, and local boards for protection and restitution of rights, in accordance with Law 136-03.
- Approval of the draft Law on Positive Parenting is urgently needed so that I know that it prohibits physical and humiliating punishment of children and is clear evidence of violence against children.
- Prohibit child marriage: by modifying the Dominican Civil Code, to prohibit without exception marriage before 18 years of age.
- Reduce child mortality: public policies that reduce the high infant mortality rate in our country must be implemented.
- Increased budget for investment in children: to ensure the effective functioning of the mechanisms and structures established by law 136-03, especially at the local and municipal level, and the adoption of transparency and accountability controls in the management of public funds administered by CONANI.
In that same order, the coordinator of the NGO Coalition for Children, Catalina Encarnación Marte, indicated that they value the efforts promoted by CONANI in its new management and as a Coalition we are committed to participating, together with other civil society institutions to contribute with these efforts, in the search for solutions that contribute to the strengthening of the National Protection System, which favor a better quality of life and dignity of Dominican children, as well as the guarantee of their fundamental rights.
He added that it is necessary to prioritize within the actions of CONANI the installation of municipal offices, municipal directories, and local boards for the protection and restitution of rights, by Law 136-03.
The NGO Coalition for Children is a space for articulation and synergy for advocacy that brings together more than 32 civil society organizations that are experts in child and adolescent protection.