By Regina Pratt
Commissioner, National Youth Commission, Anthony Koroma yesterday said that children participants at the consultative meeting organised by the West Africa Peace-building Network (WANEP) should be involved in the Constitutional Review Process, CRP, to serve as ambassadors for their colleagues.
While delivering a keynote address during a one day consultative meeting at the Civil Service Training College, State Avenue, Commissioner Koroma said the constitution is not a five year document as it will be in operation for twenty to thirty years as the case may be, thus making it imperative for children to have their input.
“Constitution is a guiding principle for the governance of any country,” he said, adding that the essay competition the children participated in was one way of encouraging them to contribute to the review process.
He told the gathering of children to take the essay seriously and put to pen whatever comes to mind as it is their right and responsibility to make their views and aspirations known.
Director of Children’s Affairs in the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs, who deputised the Permanent Secretary, Mrs. Mariatu Bangura, congratulated WANEP for what she referred to as a laudable initiative, involving children in the CRP.
She said the Constitutional Review Committee, CRC, should focus on the rights of children and that the enforcement of those rights must be mandatory and entrenched in the new constitution.
In his welcome address, WANEP national coordinator, Edward Jombla, said children have suffered and are being marginalised as their voices are silent in mainstream debates on issues that border on their wellbeing, adding that it was high time they expressed their views and for it to be included the new constitution.
“In this current Constitutional Review Process, the children need to be prepared and well positioned to participate and contribute to national discourses for their issues to be captured in the process,” he stressed.
He said the meeting was funded by United Nations Development Programme and encouraged the children to meaningfully participate in the discussion forum.