All children in Africa have the right to survive

13Jun 2018
The Guardian
All children in Africa have the right to survive

THE Day of the African Child has been celebrated on June 16 every year since 1991, when it was first initiated by the OAU Organisation of African Unity. It honours those who participated in the Soweto Uprising in 1976 on that day.

It also raises awarenessof the continuing need for improvement of the education provided to African children.

In Soweto,South Africa, on June 16, 1976, about ten thousand black school children marched in a column more than half a mile long, protesting the poor quality of their educationand demanding their right to be taught in their own language. Hundreds of young students were shot, the most famous of which being Hector Pieterson. More than a hundred people were killed in the protests of the following two weeks, and more than a thousand were injured.

On June 16 every year, governments, NGOs, international organisations and other stakeholders gather to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing the full realisation of the rights of childrenAfrica.

For 2014, the theme chosen returns to the roots of the movement: A child-friendly, quality, free, and compulsory educationfor all children in Africa.

Guided by the theme of the 2016 Day of the African Child, which was, “Conflict and Crisis in Africa: Protecting All Children’s Rights”; commending the efforts of the United Nations, the African Union and African states to prevent and resolve crisis and conflicts on our continent; especially for the peace keeping missions and the laws and policies aiming at preventing or stopping conflicts in Africa;Recognising and thanking civil society organisations and humanitarian agencies for providing humanitarian aid to conflict affected communities and standing with children even in the toughest crisis and conflict situations; recalling that all children in Africa including refugee and displaced children and others affected by crisis and conflicts have the right to survive, learn and be protected from violence, abuse and neglect, and that these rights are protected by the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and other international and regional human rights instruments.Deeply concerned that despite the existence of global, continental, and sub- regional commitments and investment in conflict prevention and resolution by African States, more than 12.6 million children in Africa are out of school due to armed conflict and suffer abductions, sexual violation, killed and maimed, among other grave violations with impunity. These violations are perpetrated by forces of both non-state and state actors, including even peacekeepers.Since the war in South Sudan, over 200,000 people have been displaced into the Gambella camp. About 67 per cent of this population are children and unaccompanied minors; 70 per cent are women.As much as we appreciate the support so far provided for the camps, there are still issues of abduction of children, inadequate water and sanitation services and improved safe spaces for effective learning.

Regretting that schools and hospitals are used for military purposes and therefore become targets of military attacks denying children of their rights to life, education and development.


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