Feb 25, 2011, 1:29 PM
Preventing and responding to violence, exploitation and abuse against children, including commercial sexual exploitation, trafficking, child labour and harmful traditional practices such as female genital mutilation/cutting and child marriage are all forms of child protection.
The Convention on the Rights of the Child outlines the fundamental rights of children, including the right to be protected from economic exploitation and harmful work, from all forms of sexual exploitation and abuse, and from physical or mental violence, as well as ensuring that children will not be separated from their family against their will.
These remind us of the importance of protecting our children from abuse and exploitation.
Consequently, the government and development partners must take adequate measures to safeguard our children from harm.
Gambian children need to be protected by government through its policies and programmes, as well as protection from the larger society, including parents and guardians.
We must put in place a protective environment for children to help protect them, and to respond to violence, abuse and exploitation, where essential.
We need to strengthen our political commitment and capacity to realize children’s rights to protection; promoting the establishment and enforcement of adequate legislation; addressing harmful attitudes, customs and practices; and, encouraging open discussion of child protection issues ,which includes the media and civil society partners.
Our children also need to acquire life skills and knowledge and participate in issues affecting their welfare.
Children need proper care and protection so as to enable them become responsible future leaders.
Child rights must be also honoured if we want them to maximize their potential.
We have observed that many children are out of school roaming the streets begging all day long.
This is a serious issue, and we urge the department of Social Welfare and partners to adopt mechanisms to address the problem.
‘‘It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.’’