Ecuador: Swiss parliamentarians visit Tdh’s projects

by Jérémie Henriod | Terre des hommes (Tdh) - Switzerland
Tuesday, 18 June 2013 09:16 GMT

* Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.

As part of the 128th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, Swiss parliamentarians traveled to Quito and were able to meet with teams and projects led by Terre des hommes, including those relating to community development and the treatment of youths within the legal system.

This spring, eleven Swiss parliamentarians were invited to Quito to spend a few days there as part of the Inter-Parliamentary Union. The program included a presentation on Tdh’s activities in Ecuador, a visit to two centers for children and adolescents developed by our Ecuadorian partner the "Niñez y Vida" association and finally a reception at the Quito Bar Association with representatives of the Ecuadorian judiciary to address the evolution of the country’s juvenile justice system.

The Swiss delegation, which included president of the Union of Swiss Parliamentarians Peter Bieri, showed great interest and enthusiasm. They were able to get a sense of the good relations maintained by Tdh with the Ecuadorian authorities.

According to Roland Fisher, Swiss ambassador in Quito, this collaboration will even help promote the development of Swiss-Ecuadorian relations in their efforts to strengthen the rights of the child.

Violence, the source of many problems within Ecuadorian society

In Ecuador, the homicide rate among young people between 14 and 25 years old is four times higher than what is observed in developed countries. Homicide is the second leading cause of death among young men and the leading cause among young women. Therefore, the Tdh delegation prioritizes the implementation of programs to promote the emergence of a culture of nonviolence

First through education, emphasizing a school system focused on positive discipline to promote tolerance and in particular the involvement of minors. Then by putting the protection and welfare of children at the heart of community concerns, either through setting up “child friendly” infrastructures or by establishing community solutions for cases of abuse and maltreatment that are not addressed by governmental bodies. Finally, the implementation of work processes to ensure the reintegration of youth into society.

Whether a victim or an offender, to Tdh each young person is a work in progress that should be able to benefit from special conditions of care, appropriate to his or her age, maturity and characteristics (physical, psychological, emotional, etc.) as well as to the crime her or she has committed or suffered.