By: Antoinette Sendolo (Intern)
As Liberia joins other African countries on June 16 to celebrate the Day of the African Child, senior traditional and religious leaders have recommitted their supports in protecting the rights of children in Liberia.
The signing program which brought together several religious and traditional leaders was geared towards strengthening child protection mechanisms and system to respond to abuses and violence against children in Liberia.
Speaking at the program, the national chairman, National Muslin Council of Liberia and president of the inter-Religious council of Liberia Sheikh Kafumba F. Konneh described the roles of parents, government and religious groups as paramount to protecting the rights of children in the country.
He said protecting the rights of children is an obligation of every parent therefore they should provide equitable treatment for all children without gender discrimination.
He however called on both Muslins and Christians to pay and attach special attention and interest to the development of the human resources of children and protecting their welfare and wellbeing.
For his part, the head of the Liberia National Traditional Council Chief, Zanzan Karwa, said it is important that those considered as indigenous people get involved in protecting the rights of every child in Liberia.
He said the Liberia Traditional Council will ensure that the message of child protection be carried throughout the length and breadth of the country.
Also speaking was the Minister of Gender, Ms. Julia Duncan Cassell who encouraged all Liberians to join the struggle to protect the rights of children and also noted that government and the society as well must work hard to ensure the full implementation of the Child Law.
She called on all Liberians to have the mind of being ‘ambassadors’ of change and child protection in Liberia.
The Day of the African Child is being celebrated on June 16 every year since 1991, when it was first initiated by the Organisation of African Unity. It honours those who participated in the Soweto Uprising in 1976. On that day, it also raises awareness of the continuing need for improvement of the education provided to African children.
This year, the Day of the African Child will be celebrated under the theme: “Eliminating Harmful Social and Cultural Practices affecting children: Our Responsibility”.