PRESS RELEASE Delivered by Minister Williametta E. Saydee-Tarr The pending commemoration of the Day of the African Child
Delivered by Minister Williametta E. Saydee-Tarr
The pending commemoration of the Day of the African Child
As we gear towards the commemoration of the Day of African Child (DAC), the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection in collaboration with the Children’s Representative Forum and members of the Child Protection Network would like to inform the public that Liberia will join the rest of the world on June 16, 2021 in observance of the Day of the African Child (DAC).
The celebration of the Day of the African Child (DAC) arises from resolution No: CM/1290 of the Heads of States Summit of the then Organization of African Unity held in Abuja, Nigeria in June of 1990. During this summit, it was declared that the 16th day of June every year be celebrated as the Day of the African Child to commemorate the death of hundreds of school children who were massacred in Soweto, South Africa, by the then Apartheid Regime in June of 1976. The children protested against the inferior quality of their education and demanded their rights to be taught in their own language.
This year’s DAC is being observed under the global theme, “30 years after the adoption of the Charter: accelerate the implementation of Agenda 2040 for an Africa fit for children”, while Liberia will commemorate the day under a National Theme: “Promoting Positive Arts, Culture and Heritage to accelerate the implementation of the Agenda 2040 in making Liberia a better place for children”.
Liberia being a member of the AU, has also organized series of activities in commemoration of the Day of the African Child 2021 which is expected to focus on the global 2040 agenda that provides a platform to reflect on the African Continent’s flagship development agenda.
As part of activities marking the DAC, the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, in collaboration with the Child Protection Network of Liberia (CPN) and the Liberia National Children Representative Forum (LNCRF) will on Monday, June 14, 2021 in Sanniquelle, Nimba County begin the roll out of Key activities which will include:
✓Visitation to Orphanages, Disabilities Homes and Historical Sites
✓Presentation of Gifts.
Day-II, Tuesday, June 15, will observe the holding of a the National Children Conference which is intended to help children effectively engage policy makers as well as state Actors for the implementation of Laws and policies that protect children, and also to create equal opportunities for all children including children with disabilities and children in institutional care as enshrined in the Liberia Children’s Law to interact physically with policy makers.
While in Nimba County, the conference will bring together children from the 15 counties, child rights advocates and activist, around Liberia to formulate actions' plan in protecting children from abuses including sexual gender based violence, physical assault, neglect, trafficking among other vices.
The activities will continue on Tuesday, Day-II, with the conducting of elections for the Liberia National Children Representative Forum (LNCRF). The elections will be held in collaboration with Child Protection Actors and will witness children representing the 15-(fifteen) political sub-divisions given the opportunity to participate in the National Elections. Positions to be occupied will include;
✓Children With Disabilities Representative
In furtherance, the DAC's observance will be climaxed on Wednesday, June 16 with an official indoor program which will begin with a parade through the main streets of Sanniquelle. The activities have been drawn to give children the platform to speak about issues affecting them in the 2040 agenda for sustainable development and the African children Chapter.
The specific Objectives of the DAC are to ensure the following:
✓ Children will effectively engage policy makers as well as state Actors for the implementation of Laws and policies that protect children.
✓ Enhance the knowledge of children around Liberia about their rights and responsibilities.
✓ Provide the space and opportunities to interact with new friends/advocate through the Liberia Children Forum programs and counties forum initiatives.
✓ Rollout advocacy campaign on stopping violence against children with more emphasis on rape and child trafficking in Liberia
✓ Creating a platform that will enable children to continuously follow the preventive health measure of COVID-19.
✓ Provide Psychosocial counseling for survivors (Children) of harmful traditional practices, child marriage, stigmatized children of ( witch craft)
✓ Art, Culture and Heritage as a means to promote Children engagement.
✓ Provide Liberian Children an understanding of their culture and heritage.
As we observe this historical day commemorating the livelihood of African Children, the Ministry of Gender would like to once again highlight that children under the age of 15 make up 42 per cent of Liberia’s population while 63 per cent is under 25. This statistic, in our honest quest to eliminate all forms of violence against children, gives the country a great task to protect its young people from harm while giving them the space and opportunity to develop and lead the country forward. Violence against children and adolescents, especially girls, including rape, abuse, harassment and exploitation remains a daunting challenge.
The Ministry of Gender would like to recount that in 2020 a total of 2,240 Gender Based Violence cases were reported with rape and gang rape constituting 1,546. However, Montserrado County recorded a whopping 1,073 cases amounting to 78.8% of the total number of cases while Grand Gedeh and Nimba Counties recorded 185 and 167 cases respectfully. It is even troubling to note that rape & sodomy constitute 1,462 cases, gang rape 84 cases, Sexual Assault 191 cases and physical Assault/Domestic Violence 323 cases.
While we have recorded a considerable reduction in the GBV Statistics from a total number of 2,708 cases reported in 2019 to 2,240 in 2020, it is therefore worth mentioning that this fight against violence against women and children remains a collective endeavor in ensuring that our society is free from the scourge of rape and all other forms of violence against Children.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MGCSP) is urging parents, guidance and caregivers to ensure the protection of every child and also avoid using children as breadwinners.
At the same time, ministry is therefore making a strong call for an end to the scourge. This is hurtful and inhumane, and we, as a people and Nation, Must put an end to this now.
I thank you.