The African Child E-Newsletter, Issue 12
This November - December edition of The African Child E-Newsletter highlights the deliberation and shares the outcome documents from the 3rd Pan-African Forum on Children.
The Third Pan-African Forum Towards Africa Fit for Children brought together a diverse group of stakeholders: child representatives from East, Central and Southern Africa, experts from Member States, members of the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, the civil society, representatives of UN agencies, the academia and development partners.
In his opening address, the Commissioner for Social Affairs, Dr. Mustapha Sidiki, noted the relevance of the theme of the Forum – Accountability for Investment in Children – and stressed that despite significant gains in protecting the rights and improving the well-being of children, African Governments still have a long way to go.
The civil society was represented by the AfricaWide Movement for Children (AMC). Mr George Nyakora, president of the Movement, reiterated that the capacity of the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child needs to be strengthened to effectively fulfil its mandate and reaffirmed that the civil society including AMC will use all its network to support the work of the Committee in promoting universal ratification of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child and its implementation and contribute to the creation of an Africa Fit for Children. The report prepared by the AMC on the progress and challenges in implementing the priority areas of action were presented and circulated at the meeting. Click here to download the AMC Report.
The child representatives used the opportunity to express their concerns on a number of issues including lack of access to adequate healthcare, violence, especially sexual abuse against girls, illicit drug use, harmful practices such as child marriage, child labour and absence of peace in many parts of Africa such as Eastern DRC, Northern Mali, Somalia and other parts of Africa.
Children’s representatives urged for immediate measures to demobilize child soldiers, punish perpetrators of violence, rehabilitate street children and improve the quality of services such as education and healthcare.
The 3rd Pan-African Forum was also unique in the sense that an “Intergenerational Dialogue” was conducted where a panel of child representatives raised questions and discussed issues relating to child protection, participation and access to basic services with experts from various organizations. This was an attempt to have a meaningful involvement of children on discussions that affect them and benefit from their perspectives. Click here to download the Report of the Forum / Click here to access the documents in French and Portuguese.
To reaffirm commitment to the goals of the Plan of Action Towards Africa Fit For Children, participants of the Forum came up with a Renewed Call to be tabled for discussion and adoption by Member States. Click here to download the Renewed Call.
President Chissano is the newly elected Chairperson of ACPF’s International Board of Trustees, having succeeded H.E. Dr Salim Ahmed Salim, who served as Chairperson from 2003 to 2012. Dr. Salim remains associated with ACPF as Distinguished Fellow.
Joaquim Chissano, former President of Mozambique came last week to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to chair the meeting of the International Board of Trustees of the African Child Policy Forum (ACPF).
A world-renowned advocate for the promotion of peace and good governance, President Chissano is also an ardent advocate of child rights and wellbeing in Africa, especially the wellbeing of children in armed conflict, eloquently speaking against the recruitment of child soldiers.
Speaking to Board members and senior staff of ACPF today, President Chissano expressed his pleasure in being elected to chair the International Board of Trustees and his commitment to the cause of children in Africa. He stressed that investment in children is the single most important route to secure Africa’s future, and called upon African governments to work towards a more child-friendly Africa.
Echoing President Chissano’s remarks, Mr. David Mugawe, ACPF’s Executive Director, expressed his joy at President Chissano’s appointment as Chair and added that his proven leadership will maintain ACPF’s momentum as the leading African organisation on child rights and wellbeing.
Click here to read the Press Release in English.
ACPF attended a French-speaking workshop on The Hague Convention of 1993 that took place in Dakar, Senegal, from November 27-30, 2012. The workshop drew 60 experts from national Central Authorities in charge of adoption of children and child protection, the judiciary from 15 French-speaking sub-Saharan African and Caribbean sending countries, and experts from 6 receiving countries and 4 international organisations.
The goal of this Workshop was to promote a common understanding of The 1993 Convention; to study the implementation of this legal instrument in the States that were represented in the workshop; to help ensure that international adoption is made in the best interest if the child; and to prevent child abduction and trafficking in children for the purpose of adoption.
The experts and judges who attended the workshop agreed on the following Conclusions and Recommendations:
1. Intercountry adoption should be a measure of last resort in the national systems for child protection. National adoption should be promoted.
2. The signature and ratification of The Hague Convention of 1993 should be promoted among sending countries.
3. The Good Practices Guides No. 1 and 2 developed by the Permanent Secretariat as a tool to implement The Hague Convention should be widely disseminated.
4. Sending and Receiving States should work together and be co-responsible with regards to the procedures and safeguards.
5. The participants reaffirm the Recommendation no. 11 of the Special Commission of 2010, according to which all intercountry adoptions are submitted to the procedures and safeguards provided for by The Hague Convention of 1993.
6. The crucial importance of having a clear definition of the tasks assigned to the Central Authority.
Other conclusions and recommendations were made regarding the adoptability of the child, the needs of adoptable children in the sending countries, the selection and preparation of future adoptive parents, the children with special needs, the training of all stakeholders, the financial aspects of intercountry adoption, mistreatment and abuse prevention, statistics, technical assistance, and the post-adoption follow-up. The participants also emphasized the importance of the other Hague Conventions.
Our Special of the Month feature is An Africa Fit for Children: Progress and Challenges. "From the foregoing review, it is clearly evident that over a decade since the adoption of the AFFC framework, significant progress has been made on almost all the key priority areas. This progress, however, varies substantially across countries and areas of focus."
Please send us your contributions by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will feature your submission in future issues of this E-Newsletter and on the InfoHub website.
The African Child Information Hub (InfoHub)
An Africa Fit for Children: Progress and Challenges
by the AfricaWide Movement for Children (AMC)
AFRICA: UN Report - Indigenous Children On the Sidelines of Society
SOUTH AFRICA: Children Still Live in Unequal Worlds
Read more ...
NIGERIA: 'Early Intervention Is Key to Protection of Child Rights'
Read more ...
UGANDA: Nodding syndrome symptoms controlled, hunt for cure continues
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RWANDA: Communities Essential to Reduce Child HIV Infections
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LIBERIA: Religious Council Wants Children's Rights Prioritized
Read more ...
Click here for more news
Lonely Servitude - Child Domestic Labor in Morocco l Click here l
Country Reports on Human Rights Practices - Africa l Click here l
Prohibiting corporal punishment of children in West Africa l Click here l
South African Child Gauge 2012 l Click here l
Violating Children's Rights: Harmful practices based on tradition, culture, religion or superstition l Click here l
The Extent and Nature of Witchcraft-Based Violence against Children, Women, and the Elderly in Malawi l Click here l
The Child Development Index 2012 - Progress, challenges and inequality l Click here l
David Mugawe, ACPF's Executive Director, has received an Award from the International Juvenile Justice Observatory (IJJO), on November 6, 2012. He received the Award in recognition of his efforts to promote and protect the rights of African children within the justice system. ACPF has made significant contributions to improving children's experience within African justice system and establishing a Children's Legal Protection Centre (CLPC) in Addis Ababa, which is successful in protecting children and in influencing the interpretation and application of the law in Ethiopia.
More info here.
Dr Assefa Bequele, Founder and Distinguished Fellow of ACPF, was appointed to the Plan International Board of Directors and Programme Committee. The Leadership Team of RESA (Region of East and Southern Africa) recently nominated him to the Board. His appointment effectively sets in motion Plan's efforts to include and improve Southern representation in Plan International's governance structures.
More info here.
Committee on the Rights of the Child: Session 62 (14 Jan-1st Feb. 2013, Geneva, Switzerland)
Theme: Children's rights
San Diego International Conference on Child and Family Maltreatment (26-31 Jan. 2013, San Diego, USA)
Theme: Child Well-being
4th ISCI Int'l Conference - Child Indicators in a Globalized World: Implications for Research (29-31 May 2013, Seoul, Korea)
Theme: Research on Children's rights
Click here for more events