Make Child Right Bill Enactment A Manifesto Promise …YACAN Calls On Political Parties

Make Child Right Bill Enactment A Manifesto Promise

…YACAN Calls On Political Parties 

By Mohamed Konneh 

The Youth and Child Advocacy Network (YACAN) has called on political parties to make the child right bill enactment into law as part of their manifesto promise for the 2023 election. The call came on Tuesday 9th May 2023 during the engagement with the Ministry of Gender and Children's Affairs and Members of Parliament so as to update CSOs and stakeholders on the process of enacting the Child Right Bill of 2022 into law.

The meeting took place at the Family Kingdom Resort, Aberdeen in Freetown bringing stakeholders to discuss the issue.

In his opening remarks the chairperson of the occasion Mr. Charles Lahai call on the government including political parties to prioritize the child right bill in their manifesto as the right of the child is important. 

Mr. Lahai said he is able to read and write today because his parent got him educated but that society also contributed to his development.

‘This engagement is for all of us to think through and do what is required so that we will get the child right bill enacted into law when the new parliament is constituted. This is doable and the reason for this gathering, he said.’   

The YACAN Executive Director, Hassan Fuad Kanu in his statement said since the inception of his organization they have been monitoring the activities of children and this include child marriage, child exploitation, early marriage, and lot more. 

He said the child right act of 2007 under review has gaps and the need to review it. 

‘There is every need to review the act as we now have emerging issues and new development. The internet continues to expose children to danger and so we need law that will protect children on that space. We have lot of child offenders on this space. There is also need to look at child offenders, what are the required punishment needed if they fall foul of the law, he said.’

Fuad Kanu noted that the child need protection and the only way we could protect them is by having strong laws and regulations.  

The Vice President of the Children's Forum Network, Foday Bangura when making his statement said that they continue to support the process of having a new act but was disappointed that the bill never pass into law before parliament closes. 

Mr. Bangura thanked YACAN for having this forum to discuss issue relating to children. 

‘We were part of the consultations to have the child right act reviewed. The process was good and the more reason why children should be involved in their own process, he said.’ 

The representative of Children's Commission Addie Valcarcel making her statement said the commission recognizes the effort by the Ministry in pushing for the enactment of the 2022 bill into law. 

Madam Valcarcel noted that advocacy has been pushing for the enactment of the bill but this never materialized due to concerns and the closer of parliament recently.

‘We as a commission are committed in having this bill enacted and we will continue to work with other stakeholders, she said.’

Daniel Gbow from the Ministry of Gender and Children’s Affairs said they’ve gone far in having this bill enacted into law.

He said the 2007 act is been review as a result of emerging issues. 

‘There is so much that is needed to put into the new law and the reason why we are reviewing the act. These emerging issues including child pornography, corporal punishment, child marriage and lot more are the reason for the review, he said.’

He said consultations have concluded but more work needed to be done and encourage all to bring up more recommendations and suggestions. 

The call for political parties to make the child right bill enactment a priority is now louder than before. 


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