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Voice Of the Young Holds 'Bantaba'

Jun 23, 2009, 6:53 AM | Article By: Isatou Dumbuya

The 'Voice of the Young,' a child advocacy network under the umbrella of the Child Protection Alliance CPA on Saturday 19 June 2009, held its first social forum (bantaba) at the KMC hall in Kanifing.

The 'bantaba' also coincided with the commemoration of the Day of the African Child. This year's theme was titled 'Ending Violence Against Children: moving from rhetoric to action'.

Speaking at the occasion, Mr. Njundu Drammeh, the National Coordinator of CPA lamented the issue of child sexual abuse in the country. He made particular reference to the issue of rape among young girls.

He said that these rapists are either known to the child or a near adult relative most of the time.

"It lies with us to see to it that children are well-protected," he said.

The Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Marie Saine-Firdaus, who also doubles as a board member of CPA, said that children were massacred during the era of Apartheid in 1976 when they protested against the use of the Afrikaner language in schools in Soweto South Africa. The Day of the African Child (DAC) came as a result of the Soweto Uprising, she noted.

"As children, you also have a role to play, active roles in sensitisation in schools, communities so as to enable your rights to be fully recognised,' she said.

She added that the government of the Gambia has the interest of children at heart.

She noted that policies are already in place as well as stiff penalties for the violation of their rights, especially when sexually abused.

She said a lot needs to be done regarding sensitisation but the government, she added, can't do it alone.

She called on parents, children, and civil society organisations to also complement government's efforts in promoting the welfare of children. She thanked the Child Protection Alliance for carrying out such a worthy cause for the Voice of the Young.