The United Nations in Suriname, led by UNICEF, aims to improve the protective environment for children at the household, community, and national level.
In Suriname, around 84 percent of children aged two to 14 have been subjected to at least one form of psychological or physical punishment by their mothers, caretakers, or other household members. The figure rises to 92.5 percent on the rural interior. Reliable and detailed disaggregated data on child abuse and sexual violence against children is lacking, although significant efforts to collect data on domestic violence are being exerted by the Ministry of Justice and Police. Children who are not in the care of their own families, including those in institutional care have an additional vulnerability to violence, exploitation, abuse or neglect. In 2006, almost one in 10 children (9.3 percent) were not living with their biological parents, the number almost doubling one in five (18.4 percent) in the rural interior. Out of the total of 1,276 children reported to be in care institutions, 264 are known to be abused or neglected, this being the reason for their placement in care.
About 6 percent of children aged five to 14 are involved in child labour in Suriname. Differences between urban, rural coastal and rural interior areas are considerable, 3 percent, 6.5 percent and 17.8 percent respectively.
Following ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in March 1993, the Government of Suriname put a lot of effort in the implementation of the commitments of the CRC, including developing an inter-ministerial National Action Plan for Children (2009-13) which lays out the roles and responsibilities of each Ministry in relation to child rights in Suriname.
The Government of Suriname and UNICEF aim to improve the protective environment for children at the household, community, and national level to ensure that all children in Suriname live free of violence, abuse, exploitation, and neglect. In this sense, the United Nations in Suriname, led by UNICEF, will focus its interventions in the following key areas:
Child protection system: UNICEF will support the Ministry of Justice and Police and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Housing to map and assess the existing child protection system towards identifying and addressing critical gaps in legislation, institutional capacities and service delivery.
Domestic violence and child abuse and exploitation: UNICEF, together with the Ministry of Justice and Police, will help develop standards and protocols for the prevention and management of child abuse, exploitation and domestic violence. UNICEF will also provide technical assistance to establish a national network and a reporting centre for preventing child abuse and exploitation.
Child protection data: UNICEF will support capacity development of key sectors within the Government of Suriname in, collecting, analyzing and using child protection data to effectively inform policy and practice.
Promotion of Children’s Rights: UNICEF together with Ministry of Social Affairs and Housing will provide technical assistance to update and monitor the implementation of the National Action Plan for Children. As part of UNICEF’s advocacy and technical assistance strategy, support will also be provided to the Ministry of Social Affairs in preparing pending and future CRC reports and to the Parliamentary Committee on Children in advocating and ensuring appropriate reflection of children’s issues within the different legislations and policy documents.