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Badilisha Lugha KISWAHILI

Independent ministry for children proposed

17th January 2013

Tanzania Child Rights Forum (TCRF) has strongly recommended establishment of an independent ministry to handle child right issues only.

According to the Violence Against Children (VAC) National Survey conducted in Tanzania in 2010, over 1 in 10 females and almost 1 in 20 males reported experiencing at least one incident of sexual violence before the age of 18 and one quarter of Tanzanian children experience emotional violence at some point in their childhood.

Orphans are more vulnerable to some forms of violence than non orphans and because of their vulnerability need a constitutionally guaranteed mechanism with which to ensure that their basic rights are provided under the law of the land.

The assertion was made via a ‘TCRF Position Paper’ that documented the organisation’s opinion to the Constitution Review Process saying the current ministry for community development, gender and children is not sufficient to cover the specific issues and stops short at availing very vague and general policies that leave loopholes for abuse and loss of rights.

More specifically, the TCRF’s report alleged that allocated budget to the current ministry does not meet the children’s demands.

“We would like to propose that the new constitution should allow the formation of an independent ministry for children only…” the report stated pointing out that more than half of the country’s population is children and that raises the stakes of the nation’s future.

The TRCF advocates for children’s rights and it is seeking, as stated, for the enactment of a new constitution that includes a minimum set of key international child rights that will provide greater ground for the promotion, protection, fulfillment and facilitation of the child rights in Tanzania.

So TRCF is working to prepare and coordinate its membership to use the currently available policy change through public consultation in the constitutional review process through which at least key principles and basic guarantees for the promotion, protection and fulfillment of the child rights pursuant to the country’s commitments to the international treaties may be advocated and realised.

The new constitution must consider that children have the right to special protection because of their vulnerability to exploitation and abuse. As such, the new constitution must address child protection and provide avenue for the institutional set up of child right policies.

TCRF said since children are one of the most vulnerable groups in society-their age and comparative lack of maturity makes it difficult for them to influence and participate in decisions about their lives and they rely on adults to protect and promote their rights and assist them when their rights have been violated and it is this fact that drives the organization to advocate for child rights.



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