By Ndey Sowe
The UNICEF Representative to the Gambia Ms. Sandra Lattouf said: “let’s make sure that the child in Fatoto has equal chance and facilities to pursue their dreams as their peers in Banjul”.
She added that the equality gap between children in rural and urban areas should be bridged.
“Let’s work together to build communities that accept no defence for rape, communities that understand that no matter the circumstance, rape can’t be justified”, she added.
She made these and other remarks during a press conference on the 30th Anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC@30), held at the United Nations (UN) house Banjul on Wednesday, 20th November 2019.
The Convention on the Rights of the Child is a United Nations human rights treaty outlining the distinct rights of the child. It is the first legally binding code of child rights in history, and it was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 20th November 1989 and came into force on 2 September 1990.
In The Gambia, former President Jawara signed the instrument of Ratification on 3rd August 1990, President Adama Barrow and his government renewed the pledge on 25th September 2019 at the UN General Assembly. And today there is a Children National Assembly established in March 2019 with a child who will speak on behalf of the children in the Gambia at the UN.
“The fundamental mission of UNICEF is to promote the rights of every child, everywhere, in everything the organisation does,” the UNICEF Rep remarked.
She observed that in the Gambia, children are not just waiting for action from the government; they’re making demands for action and clearly defining the future they want. These demands are being put together by children themselves in a declaration called “The Gambia We Want” which they will submit to the government on Saturday, 23rd November 2019.
Kajah Sonko, Deputy Executive Director Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare speaking on behalf of the Minster said before and after the implementation of the CRC, “we recognized the fact that a lot of things have been committed by government to be able to look critically at how best the convention can be fully implemented”.
He added that currently the ministry is trying to make sure that it establishes a directorate that will remind their staff to be able to take charge of these responsibilities.
“We also developed a national child protection strategy which is being implemented”, he said, adding that very soon they will do the assessment of the strategy to see what they can put in place.
The United Nations (UN) Universal Children’s Day, which was established in 1954, is celebrated on 20th November each year to promote international togetherness and awareness among children worldwide. UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund, promotes and coordinates this special day, which also works towards improving children’s welfare.