June 21, 2017 By Ibrahim Tarawallie
Chairman of the Parliamentary Oversight Committee on Social Welfare has stated that early marriage is an added burden on families and a deterrent to government efforts in developing the country’s education system.
Hon. Hassan A. Sesay of Constituency 59 in the Tonkolili district was speaking in Kambia, during an event organized by the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs and partners to commemorate this year’s Day of the African Child on June 16, 2017 on the theme:
“The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development for Children in Africa: Accelerating Protection, Empowerment and Equal Opportunity”.
He appealed to parents and guardians not to allow their girl child to engage in early marriage of force them to go into it because according to him, it would have a negative impact on the child, as well as the family.
He reckoned that the government has done a lot of the years the caring and protecting the rights of children across trhe country, citing the enactment of the Child Rights Act in 2007.
He added that children have been given the right to speak for themselves, rather than listened to others, describing it as an effective and modern means of communication.
Country Representative of the United Nations Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF), Geoff Wiffin, welcomed the steps taken by the government over the years to help in protecting and promoting the right of children, citing the launch of the African Union campaign on ending child marriage in August 2016 and the involvement of children in the preparation of state budget.
He called community stakeholders and state actors to find solution in ending violence against children’s rights, be it teenage pregnancy, child marriage and sexual and gender base violence.
Deputy Minister of Social Welfare, Rugiatu Neneh Turay, spoke about her close contact with Soweis across the country as a way of discouraging the initiation of children below the age of 18 years.
She called on community people to serve as security in protecting and monitoring the activities of children and assured of her ministry’s commitment and determination in upholding the right and dignity of children across the country.
Vice President Victor Bockarie Foh expressed government commitment in protecting and upholding the rights and dignity of children at all levels, while calling on all and sundry to come on board and fight for the rights of children.
He said the government has done a lot in protecting the welfare of children to ensure they have a better future, while describing the efforts of parents and guardians towards children as very vital.