To commemorate the day of the African Child, the president of the Children’s Forum Network (CFN) Sulaiman Musa has called on all policy and decision makers to put policies aimed at protecting and advancing the Human Rights of Children.
Speaking at a press conference organized by the United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in collaboration with the Ministry of Gender and Children’s Affairs held at the Ministry’s conference hall, the President said that the theme for this year’s celebration which is “Children should be seen and heard” is a reminder to decision and policy makers that children have the right to be heard.
Master Sulaiman disclosed that a continent cannot prosper if the children are not considered and that if the continent continues to recruit children in armed conflict there will not be peace in the continent.
The CFN President maintained that the children are entitled to full citizenship and they are not tools to be used by adults, adding that there is need to move forward for the development of the children “adult must express their solidarity with children.”
Speaking about celebration, the CFN President said that in South Africa children played a very important role for their liberation and that they challenged crimes against humanity and fought until they succeeded.
The UNICEF representative Geert Cappelaere in his remarks said that this year’s celebration is special since this is the first year the children are celebrating after the passing of the Child Rights bill and there are certain provisions in the Act which requires the adults to realize the importance of children in matters that concern them by listening to them and giving them due weight to their opinion.
Mr Cappelaere said that there is an established fact that children are entitled to the fulfillment of their social and economic rights and also the right to education health care and adequate standard of living for proper development. In Sierra Leone, he noted the principle is that childhood is a period of entitlement to special protection.
He added that recognising that children have rights does not mean that adults no longer have responsibility towards these children.
The UNICEF representative pledged his organizations commitment in supporting the children of Sierra Leone to ensure a protective environment for them against violence, exploitation, abuse and deprivation from primary caregivers.