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‘We have moral obligation to protect children in all ways’ - First Lady

Nov 23, 2015, 9:38 AM | Article By: Cherno Omar Bobb

“Children are the most precious, but they are also the vulnerable members of society. So we all have a moral obligation to protect, nurture and enhance their lives in any way possible,” First Lady ZinebYahya Jammeh has said.

She made this remark on Friday at the Kairaba Beach Hotel during the official launching of a UNICEF report entitled: ‘For Every Child, A Fair Chance: The Promise of Equity’.

The report provides an in-depth analysis of the situation of children worldwide for necessary and collaborative action.It also highlights the state of the world’s children today, and seeks to ensure a world fit for children globally.

Madam Jammeh said with the proper guidance, sound policies and targeted programmes, children can break out of the circle of deprivation and disadvantage, and forge their own positive futures.

She noted that the report buttresses the arguments that while there are still many children left out in development, many others have been given a fair chance in life using various strategies and approaches.

It highlights innovation as the driving force for much of the progress made for children since the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) came into force in 1989.

The First Lady pointed out that the report also demonstrates how communities, entrepreneurs and young people have pushed the boundaries of what is possible, and come up with local solutions that have had a global impact on the lives of children.

“The report lays out principles to ensure that innovation meets the needs and advances the rights of every child, especially the most deprived and vulnerable,” she said.

“Among these principles are designing new ideas to address an issue with those who are affected by it, promoting innovation in local contexts, supporting the sustainability and scale of innovations to maximise benefits.”

Madam Jammeh noted that around the world, innovators are re-imagining the future for children to give them (children) opportunities to have a fair chance in life.

Such innovations are taking shape in laboratories, classrooms, design studios and kitchens, as well as in the imaginations of children and young people themselves.

The Gambia government continues to be committed to the rights and welfare of children and young people, because of the future of the country lies in the quality of the human capacity.

“This commitment in promoting and protecting the rights of children and young people is well known in the sub-region and, as a testimony to this, the government has signed and ratified many international conventions, including the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women.

“The government’s high level of commitment has been further illustrated in the development of the Children’s Act, 2005 and National Youth Policy, which safeguard the rights of children and youths in every aspect of their lives and development process,” she added.

The First Lady said as a country, The Gambia has been innovative in approaches aimed at advancing the rights of children, and such a strategy includes promotion of girls’ education and reduction of the incidence of child marriage and early pregnancy.

“Through such innovation and the government’s dedication, The Gambia is today among very few countries in the region that have attained MDG 2 on gender parity at the basic and secondary level of education.”

She noted that the School Improvement Grant is another form of innovation undertaken by the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education to eliminate many barriers to education, thereby extending access to the most disadvantaged children.

Other notable achievements registered in The Gambia, according to Madam Jammeh, include the reduction of the number of children dying from preventable diseases.

She said the government is committed to ensure that more progress is made and sustained for children of The Gambia.

“The government will continue to foster its partnership with UNICEF and other development partners working on child rights issues to re-imagine a better future for all Gambian children, and to ensure that each child has a fair chance in life,” the First Lady declared.