By Rohey Jadama Child Protection Alliance (CPA) has concluded a two day sensitization workshop on the concluding observation of the 2nd and 3rd Periodic Report of the Convention on the Right of the Child (CRC) and UniversalPeriodic Review(UPR) for the National Assembly Select Committee on Children held at the new national Assembly building in Banjul on Friday, 26th June, 2015. Speaking to the participants, the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Fatou Mbye, said the CRC periodic report and the UPR recommendations are indeed very important to any country that wants progress in the area of children as both are centered on the fulfillment of Government responsibility in collaboration with its development partners. She said issues affecting children’s survival and development are paramount to the Government of the Gambia which has been manifested in all Government developmental agenda and policies, especially in the education and health sectors. The National Assembly, she said, is willing to work and give its untiring support to both Government and civil society organizations to ensure the effective implementation of the outcomes of the reports after a very careful study. “I assure you that we maintain an open door policy for issues of children being cross cutting affects everyone and requires a collective responsibility to ensure it’s realization,” said the deputy speaker. She said the Government of the Gambia is committed to the realization of the rights and protection of all children as part of their duty as a party to the United Nations CRC as well as other international conventions and treaties of which the Gambia is a signatory to. She said all these are efforts geared towards creating that enabling environment where all children will be opportune to become responsible adults and citizens. The deputy speaker said as stakeholders in this effort, the National Assembly has been very active in the journey and thus played a key role in the endorsement of national legislations and key policies and programs that are child rights and protection related which clearly manifest that there is a high political will and commitment. She said the National Assembly Select Committee on Children will be in close touch with CPA and other stakeholders to push the agenda forward and it is also important to note that recently the National Assembly launched in collaboration with UNICEF a budget observatory platform for children all geared towards their welfare and interest. For his part, Mr. Njundu Drammeh, National Coordinator CPA, said the National Assembly is a key stakeholder to issues relating to the rights of children and they are deeply committed to the cause of children. He said they also know that the leaders of the Assembly are also champions of the rights of children and women. “We are here to talk about those children we all refer to as the future of the nation and we will be discussing very important recommendations affecting children; concluding observations of the CRC and the recommendations of the UPR and the concluding observations from the Gambia 2nd and 3rd combine periodic report of the conventions on the rights of the child,” he said. Pierre Jatta, representing the Director of Social Welfare, said the UPR and the concluding observations on the combine 2nd and 3rd CRC periodic report are indeed important and that both are mechanisms to help countries accelerate in the fulfillment of their obligations and commitments under various children and human rights treaties. He said the recommendations and concluding observations are not in any way criticism of the efforts of the Government but rather points out the issues affecting children and how legislations can be better strengthened and what civil society actors, UN agencies and other international bodies could do to support government, communities, parents and children in realizing the rights of all children. Mariama Jallow, President of Voice of the Young, said the sole purpose of organizing the workshop is to look into the Universal Periodic Report and the concluding observations and see how best the recommendations which highlight the amendment and enforcement of legislations that protect the rights of children such as the elimination of all forms of discrimination, harmful traditional practices, including FGM and child marriage, sexual exploitation and all other forms of violence affecting children in one way or the other. “We know you can do it, we know you can make the Gambia a better place for children because you have the capacity and most importantly the authority to do so,” she told the law makers. CPA Board Chairman, Sheikh Lewis, said CPA is the biggest child right organization in the Gambia which was established a decade ago with the mandate of child right promotion and protection. He said the National Assembly members are key partners of CPA and that their partnership will grow from strength to strength.]]>

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