Child Law conference
Students studying Child Law at the Faculty of Laws held a conference at the University’s Common Room, whereby these same students shared their research and findings on child participation rights.
Course tutor Dr Ruth Farrugia contended that the study-unit was more than a mere academic exercise. Dr Farrugia held that, the fact that children were actually present in a couple of sessions incorporated an additional dimension to the credit. Students were asked to take Article 12 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) as the fundamental motivation of their subject and various areas of Maltese law were also addressed in relation to child participation.
Students delved into various situations; including children in family breakdown, children as victims of violence, children as parents, children in care orders, children in alternative forms of care, adoption, children as asylum seekers, children with disability, and child access to justice. Some recommendations were also put forward, especially in light of the new laws currently being drafted on children.
Opposition MP, Clyde Puli, argued that legislation affects the most vulnerable individuals in society and the insight given by the students serves as a good basis for legislators to work upon. Of supreme importance in any developmental stage are the best interests of the child, since children require maximum protection in lieu of their vulnerability. Since child law is not a static process, it must be continuously evaluated, tested and challenged in order to constantly observe this paramount principle, being the best interest of the child.
Minister Marie Louise Coleiro Preca praised the students for taking this initiative to assess legislative areas which affect children and invited students to continue the discussion of these very pertinent issues with the actual drafters of the legislation. The Minister emphasised that children are not only the future, but they are the present and therefore we must ensure that they are visible and heard.
She discussed the various initiatives already taken by the Ministry for Family and Social Solidarity to indulge children in consulting issues which directly affect them. Minister Coleiro Preca finally encouraged students to be the catalysts of the required change and aid children to express their views by means of Non-Governmental Organisations.