Equality Rights group GGR - Citizenship in Democracy EQUALITY RIGHTS GGR

News and Information from Gibraltar on Equality, Human, Gay and Social Rights

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Government will have to answer

Equality Rights group GGR has brought its Sex Offenders Register campaign to a close, according to a press release today. In a months long campaign, the group has repeatedly called on Government to bring in measures, including a Sex Offenders Register along UK lines, in order to protect children from sex abuse.

“After our initial signature collection in the central town area, we continued our efforts in the housing estates as promised. After duly removing names of un-entitled signatories we have a total of around 3,200. This represents a good percentage of Gibraltar’s electorate and, in normal circumstances, we would have continued the Petition exercise until a considerable further number of signatures had been obtained since it is clear that support for this campaign is wide and strong enough throughout Gibraltar to have made more signatures very possible. We would then have respectfully handed the Petition personally to the Chief Minister.”

“However, the deafness of this Government to citizens’ concerns does not represent ordinary circumstances. And though we hope and pray that no child should ever suffer in the future, if any cases of child sex abuse emerge in Gibraltar, Government and Mr Caruana specifically will have to answer morally for their total silence and lack of action on a matter which cries out for strong protection and no further delay. Too many months and too many years have already been lost in protecting our children against sex abusers! Government cannot claim they are unaware of the issues after GGR’s campaign. Government has been warned of exactly what is at risk here and have chosen not only not to react, but given the fact that they have been forewarned, they have actually opted to consciously do nothing and in our view their inaction reflects upon them. It is still not too late for Mr Caruana to save the day by announcing the establishment of a Sex Offenders Register in Gibraltar and supporting legislation now to protect our children, rather than later when it is time to cynically ask for citizens' votes!" the statement continued, adding that "Given Government’s interest in this matter, GGR as an Equality Rights group will be placing a 7p stamp on an envelope and sending Government the Petition by ordinary post so that the Chief Minister’s civil servants may bring it to his attention, thus reflecting a level of respect for the Chief Minister equal to that which he has lately been seen to provide ordinary citizens’ groups.”