UNICEF Urges Enugu to pass Child Right Act into LawIgnatius Okpara Wednesday, November 20th, 2013
Ignatius Opara, Enugu
The United Nations Children Education Fund, UNICEF, has called on Enugu State government to pass the Child Rights Act, noting that she is the only state in the South East geo-political zone of Nigeria that is yet to pass the law.
But the Governor Sullivan Chime led administration has explained that the reason why the state has not domesticated the law is because it has issues with some of the provisions of the universal charter.
It, therefore, said before it will domesticate the child protection laws, the government would need to engage stakeholders of the international convention in a dialogue.
Chief of UNICEF A- field office, Enugu, Charles Nzuki, made the call Wednesday during the 2013 commemoration of the universal Children’s Day/Anniversary of the convention on the rights of the Child organized by the United Nations Children’s Fund, Unicef in collaboration with Enugu state Ministry of Gender Affairs and Social Development.
He stated that the United Nations General Assembly adopted the declaration of the rights of the Child on November 1959 to protect every child against all forms of abuse, neglect, exploitation and violence, but regretted that up till now some states including Enugu were yet to domesticate the law.
While urging the state to do something about the issue, he also charge people to always protect child’s right at homes, schools, place of work and in the larger community.
In her remarks, the state commissioner for Gender Affairs, and social Development, Mrs. Ndidi Chukwu said there are issues pending before the child right act would be passed.
Represented by the Ministry’s Social Worker, Mrs. Stella Mmamel, the commissioner said the issues are enormous such as the issue of singling out the Child in the family.
“For instance, we are here talking about violence against children and the whole hall is filled with children, where are the parents? You have to talk to parents about violence not children. These are some of the things we found out in the Child Rights Acts that needs to be addressed because a child is nobody without the parents.”
She disclosed that the Ministry has a department dedicated to children affairs where it addresses issues of child protection, adding that the ministry also has a juvenile court that treats child related issues.
“There are issues withholding this child rights act that need to be addressed in a round table where we will look at it clause by clause and remove the ones that does not suit our culture, she stated.
Mrs. Mmamel noted that the round table dialogue will come when the promoters of the Child right act are ready for the discussion.
According to her, “We are not the ones promoting it, the promoters should bring it on,” she pleaded.
National president of Young Africa stars, YAS, co- host of the event, George Urunwoke, had advocated domestication of the child right act in every state and urged people to desist from violence against children.
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