Dec 15, 2016, 12:01 PM
She was speaking yesterday at the Friendship Hostel during the inauguration of the new National Child and Youth Advisory Board (NCYAB) consisting of forty-five students and young people.
The advisory board aimed at creating a platform for young people between the ages of 13 and 23 to exchange skills and experience among themselves and integrated a system for an effective involvement in the implementation and the monitoring of the recommendations of the UN global study on violence against children.
Director Secka stated that the lack of comprehensive data on the nature and magnitude of violence affecting children and youth remains a major challenge as there is significant gap.
She however added that the Government of The Gambia is committed to addressing these gaps and the eradication of all forms of violence, especially violence against children. The Gambia government has undertaken a review of its laws on children and has enacted the comprehensive Children Act 2015, she noted, adding that two more acts on domestic violence and sexual offences had been enacted recently. Community Child Protection committees and adolescent and neighborhood watch groups were established to undertake awareness-raising campaign about the laws and relevant child protection issues, she said.
Madam Secka expressed gratitude to Child Protection Alliance (CPA) for the effective collaboration over the years, noting that she is certain they would continue the networking with relevant partners for the effective functioning of the boards.
She said the importance of children and their full development for their societies and the special attention requires ensuring the realization of their rights, responsibilities, adding that it needs is a collective responsibility of families, the state and the children themselves. Madam Secka quoted the UN Global study report as saying: “Violence against children happens everywhere, in every country and society and across all social groups.”
She highlighted some of the violence against children which includes physical violence and psychological violence such as insults, humiliation, discrimination, neglect and maltreatment.
She appealed to them to be truthful and frank in their deliberations as violence against children compromises the development of any individual and has grave consequences hence requires interventions in a timely manner.
Njundu Drammeh, National Coordinator of Child Protection Alliance (CPA), said the first board, inaugurated two years ago, aimed at playing a meaningful role in the socio-economic development of the nation. The home, school, community and entire environment are no more safe for children and people should make sure the environment is protected for children, he said.
The involvement of youth in decision-making is important, he pointed out, adding that the role of children and women are important in the attainment of the visions of the county as well as the blueprints.
Amie Gai, outgoing board chairperson, and Momodou Lamin Daviez, newly-elected chairperson, both spoke briefly at the inauguration.
The theme for the inauguration of the new board was: “Informing and mobilizing children and youth against violence”.