Photo: Estudio Revolución

NICARAGUA, March 12, 2018.— Cuba is a global leader in the protection and promotion of children’s rights, according to Unicef regional director for Latin America and the Caribbean María Cristina Perceval.

During a forum recently held in Managua on children’s rights, Perceval spoke to Prensa Latina about Cuba’s achievements in this field.

The island has the Educa a tu hijo (Educate Your Child) program, and an early infant development model that has been implemented in other countries, noted Perceval.

The UN representative also highlighted the Cuba’s achievements in regards to health, becoming the first country in the world to receive validation from the World Health Organization that it has eliminated mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis in 2015.

She also praised Cuba’s effective disaster response mechanisms and systems.

“In this sense, we recognize the capacity of the government and its ability for community organization, not only in regards to preparing for emergencies, but also effective, professional and swift action during disaster situations,” she noted.

Perceval went on to express her gratitude to the Cuban government and people for accepting a contribution from Unicef toward recovery efforts after the destruction caused by Hurricane Irma last year.

“I also want to thank you for allowing us to share what you have built in regards to early childhood education, in the elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis, teen pregnancy prevention… Cuba is a champion, champion, champion! She exclaimed.

Regarding the Educa a tu hijo program, the specialist noted that it was created 26 years ago and is designed to contribute to the comprehensive development of infants from zero to six years of age who do not attend educational institutions. It also aims to promote the role of the family in the development of children from a community and multi-sectoral approach.

Perceval also highlighted the priority afforded adolescents on the island, with participative methodologies and a social commitment to creating opportunities and projects for this sector of the population.

In this same vein, she expressed her gratitude to the Cuban people and government for “allowing us to humbly work in whatever necessary.”

Perceval also talked about collaborative efforts linked to stopping violence against children, especially girls.

“The Federation of Cuban women has an immense strength, but we also know that sometimes violent practices occur in convivial spaces and that we must keep working to eradicate all types of mistreatment against children from the community and institutions,” she stated.

Meanwhile, the UN official noted that she hopes to visit Cuba this year to attend the Unicef regional meeting, postponed last year following Hurricane María.

Given the vulnerability of the zone Perceval mentioned the importance of preparing for natural disasters “which affect old people, women, children and the disabled, above all.”

Perceval traveled to Nicaragua to recognize the country’s efforts and achievements in combating malnutrition in children, one of the main problems of the region.