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Meeting seeks government, civil society cooperation

By Serelisoni Moceica and Antonia O'flaherty SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Dec. 8, 2011) - More than 70 Pacific child protection champions attended the opening of the five-day Pacific Child Protection Regional Meeting 2011 at the Novotel Lami on Monday.

[PIR editor’s note: In a separate report, UNICEF consultant Jenni Graves says - it is more likely child abuse case reports would increase because of the new decrees protecting children’s health and wellbeing such as the Child Welfare decree that was endorsed by Cabinet in 2010.]

Government and civil society counterparts from Pacific Island countries, including Fiji, Kiribati, Vanuatu, Samoa and Solomon Islands have been participating in the regional meeting.

"The meeting will also link the government and civil society counterparts with other international agencies and humanitarian organizations involved in child protection-related activities to spark partnerships and possible collaboration," a United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) statement said.

The meeting has provided the participants the ability to reflect on achievements since the program started in 2008 and turn their attention to milestones that are to be reached by the deadline of 2012.

UNICEF's Chief of Child Protection Johanna Eriksson Takyo said: "This week, we will hear what great things have been done right across the Pacific."

"What fantastic processes the child protection champion delegates are spearheading in their respective countries with the single common goal in mind - to ensure children are increasingly free from violence, abuse and exploitation," she said.

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