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Sierra Leone News: Convention on the Rights of the Child turns 30-years

The President of Children’s Forum Network Sierra Leone, Marian Samai, on Tuesday 14th May 2019, said the Government should rethink and deepen plans to implement the provisions in the Child Rights Act. The Convention on the Rights of the Child commemorated 30 years at the Atlantic Hall near the stadium. In Sierra Leone, violence against children, abuse, poverty and exploitation of children and the lack of access to justice and education are major challenges and concerns that hinder many Sierra Leonean children to actualize their full potential. Children should be protected, nurtured, safeguarded, fed, sheltered, educated, clothed, kept healthy and most of all, children should be loved, according to Samai. While children are supposed to be in school, many are behind bars for minor offences and others in the street trying to make a living for themselves and their families. Samai further attributed the increase in drug abuse, violence and unemployment among youth to the lack of attention given to children. She said if more attention is given to those young people then crime wouldn’t be on the rise. Samai stated that policy makers must fulfil their commitments and take action on child rights now, once and for all, in making sure that every child has their rights protected and promoted. Hamid El Bashir Ibrahim, UNICEF country representative, underscored children’s access to education and innovation as the most tangible solution to sustain the progress of Sierra Leone. Highlighting the encouraging statistics on school enrolment with the introduction of the free education, Ibrahim pointed out nutrition as a key factor to help children actualize their fullest potential. Ibrahim lamented the rate of teenage mother mortality, malnutrition, stunting and school dropouts, as some of the hindrances to development of children in Sierra Leone. Ibrahim added that there is need for recognizing their rights, respecting their insights, wishes and skills in any process of development. “Depriving children of their basic rights to live, develop and to have a fulfilling life will diminish our collective effort to meet development targets such as the SDGs. It’s therefore time to set the development agenda for the country by ensuring the fulfillment of every right for every child in Sierra Leone.” The Director of the National Commission for Children, Olayinka Laggah said the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Convention of the Rights of the Child will be directed to the inputs of children across the country through drama, poetry, short stories and other platforms that will amplify the voice of children.


By Sylvia Villa

Wednesday May 15, 2019.

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