Updated: Malta to sign protocol on children's rights soon - government
The government has denied claims by the Opposition that it is not in a position to sign the optional protocol of the International Convention of Children's Rights.
Labour MP Justyne Caruana said earlier today that the protocol creates a mechanism to enable children whose rights have been breached to take action.
She said countries started signing the protocol on February 28 but not only had the government not yet signed it, it was not even in a position to do so. This was because it had not yet set up the right legal procedure for the convention to become an integral part of Maltese law.
Because of this, although Malta had signed and ratified the convention, those who felt their rights were being breached could not take the issue to the Maltese courts.
The longer the government dragged its feet on the matter, the longer it would take for children to have their rights guaranteed in line with the convention as they could not intervene in legal procedures to make themselves heard on issues which were being tackled and decided upon about the way they lived their life.
Dr Caruana said that above all Malta needed a Children's Act which incorporated children's rights and guaranteed procedures through which children would have access to justice and ensure that their voice was heard and respected.
But in a statement this afternoon the government said it was in a position to sign the protocol and procedures had already been embarked upon for this to be signed by Malta's ambassador to the UN in New York.
This showed that the opposition's statement was only intended to confuse minds and reflected the Opposition's lack of preparation.
The government said Maltese law had a number of dispositions which protected children's rights and the interests of children in court were protected through the children's legal aid.