Protection Alliance (CPA) and the National Assembly (NA) select committee on
health, women, children, refugees, disaster and humanitarian relief recently
conducted a two-day advocacy meeting on child rights and law review relating to
prohibition of physical and humiliating punishment of children.
Held at the National Assembly hall in Banjul, the event was funded by Save the Children International.
Lamin K Saidy, CPA’s youth coordinator responsible for advocacy method said the engagement is a continuing process that they started during the former government. He affirmed that it is their belief that if schools settings are not protective while communities are protective then the desire goal of making a world free of all violence would not be attained.
“Therefore the best thing we could do is to ensure that children are protected within and outside the schools then we will be able to attain the vision”.
The Alliance program officer Kaddijatou Jallow reminded participants that The Gambia is a state party to nearly all the child right regional and international conventions and among are the UN convention on the rights of the child and the African Charter on the right and welfare of the child.
She indicated that the country also domesticated some national laws among them is the 2015 Children Act, Tourism Act of 2003, Women’s Act of 2010, trafficking in person’s Act of 2007 and domestic violence Act of 2013. “All these legal instruments are geared towards protecting and safeguarding the rights and welfare of the child,” she said.
Mrs. Jallow noted that the meeting was organised to engage the new National Assembly members and to ensure that they have a legal reform in the prohibition of corporal, physical and humiliating punishments of children.
She stressed that physical and humiliating punishment has a lot of impact on the emotional well being of the child, saying children are human beings and their rights need to be protected and safeguarded. “We want to ensure that a law is put to prohibit physical and humiliating punishment of children to allow them grows to become responsible adults.”
Ousman Sillah chairperson of the National Assembly select committee on women and children health said that Children’s Act is one of the legal laws that protects children and in the law, the rights and responsibilities of the child are clearly stipulated.
The purpose of the forum, he added, is for them to improve on the law particularly in the areas of physical and humiliating punishment of children. “The child need support for his or her development be it emotional, physical or mental development. It is parents’ primary responsibility to ensure that the child is supported in this development process.”