As YACAN & stakeholders discuss child rights bill…  100 children to attend pre-legislative meeting with MPs

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Hon. Catherine Kamara explaining the Child Rights Act to stakeholders

Hon. Catherine Kamara, member of the  Parliamentary  Committee on Legislation and Chairperson of the Gender and Women’s Committee in Parliament, has promised the Youth and Children Advocacy Network (YACAN) that she would ensure that at least one hundred (100) children attend the pre-legislative meeting in the House of Parliament to discuss the Child Rights Act.

In her brief but very interesting statement, she noted among other things that she had all along been providing support, information and instruction to the architects of the Child Rights Act, adding that the business of Parliament is not to develop laws but to make laws.

She noted that she would do her utmost to ensure that what she believes in becomes reality before the end of the Fifth Parliament of Sierra Leone next year. She further stated that as far as she is concerned, she has been at the forefront of piloting the Child Rights Act in Parliament; defying criticism and antagonism from certain quarters or Members of Parliament.

She urged the YACAN Director and children in general not to relent because according to her, “very soon, we shall have children succeeding us and therefore, “we as Members of Parliament will do all it takes to pass this bill into law.”

She added that she is looking forward to having at least one hundred children representing various child rights groups from across the country invited to participate in what she described as the pre-legislative meeting with MPs in the House of Sierra Leone Parliament for them to ask questions and seek knowledge about the process.

The Executive Director of Youth and Child Advocacy Network (YACAN), Hassan Fuad Kanu has pleaded with Members of the Sierra Leone Parliament to speed-up the reading and eventual ratification of the Child Rights Act which was taken to the House of Parliament some years ago. The theme of the meeting was “How Far”, meaning how far has our Parliament gone to enacting the sacred and all-important Child Rights Act.

In his overview on the discussion between MPs, children and other stakeholders, he also stated that the process of making the Child Rights Act into a law has been delayed. He went on to state that he is of the view that unless the children of Sierra Leone who would be affected positively or negatively by this law have a chance to participate in its promulgation, then it would be pointless.

He used the opportunity to prevail on his special guests of honor from the House of Sierra Leone Parliament to do their utmost to ensure that the Child Rights Act becomes law within the shortest possible time.

Speaking earlier, Hon. Mahmoud Ibrahim Kalokoh (Member of the Parliament Legislative Committee) stated that he had all along been part and parcel of the introduction of the Child Rights Act.

He added that he is now making it his duty to ensure that the Child Rights Act is passed into law. He maintained that, despite the fact that there are many stories discrediting the promulgation of this Act, and that when the Child Rights Act becomes law, the future of children in this country will be assured, he said.

Several other statements were made by representatives from Children’s Forum Network (CFN), Don Bosco Fambul and others.

The climax of the event was a questions and answers session that was well coordinated by the Chairman of the event, Fambundeh Ansumana, Deputy Director of National Commission for Children.

The event took place at Don Bosco Fambul, Fort Street in Freetown on Wednesday 23rd November, 2022.

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