Praise for stance on children’s rights

Unicef representative of Pacific Island countries Sheldon Yett presents his credentials to Prime Minister Henry Puna. Picture: COOK ISLANDS NEWS

RAROTONGA, 14 SEPTEMBER 2018 (COOK ISLANDS NEWS) – The Cook Islands is advanced in its application of the rights of children including health, education, social policies, water sanitation, “all the things that are important to grow healthy children,” says the newly-appointed UNICEF representative of Pacific Island countries, Sheldon Yett.

Yett was visiting the Cook Islands to present his credentials to prime minister Henry Puna as the new UNICEF diplomat to this country. The presentation took place at a short ceremony at the Office of the Prime Minister on Tuesday.

The Cook Islands is a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of the Child. It is the most widely signed and ratified human rights document.

UNICEF supports governments to ensure the rights of all children are met, and Yett says the Cook Islands is ahead of many countries in this area.

“It’s important for the island to remain that way.”

He says most countries have limited funds to work with and the key areas to spend money on in that case, are the youngest and most vulnerable children of a nation.

He says the Cook Islands is a leader in many areas as far as early children’s development and immunisations programmes are concerned.

“You also have a ground-breaking benefit plan, making sure the most vulnerable children get support.”

Before Yett was appointed to the Pacific he worked in Liberia. Most UNICEF diplomatic appointments are for about four years.

“I have been in my career for 14 years and I have never been to such a welcoming country,” says Yett.

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