By Omar Bah
The Child Protection Alliance programme officer, Lamin Fatty, has said that child protection and related issues need serious financial support and commitment from stakeholders.
He said without the needed financial support, proper laws and policies; government promises in addressing issues of children will always remain empty.
Mr Fatty made these remarks recently at a day-long Child Protection Alliance budget validation analysis in collaboration with ‘Save the Children International,’ who funded the project at a local resort in Bijilo.
The budget validation analysis, focused on the national budget as well as the budgets of the three local government authorities of Kanifing, Brikama and Basse.
“Regardless of their income status, the state needs to fulfil its obligation through the provision of protection and participation, in the promotion of the right of the child. The state needs to mobilize sufficient domestic resources, to realize child rights,” he said.
He said budget planning, allocation, spending and monitoring, are crucial processes which should be given due consideration in compliance with the four golden principles of child right protection.
This, he said should be non-discriminatory as in article four; securing the best interest of the child as in article three; securing the right to life, survival and development of the child as in article six, and finally to respect the view of the child as in article twelve.
The director of the Social Welfare, Fanta Bai Secka, said children in The Gambia, like in other countries, experience various forms of abuse, neglect, exploitation and violence, from which they should be protected.
“This occurs in private and public spheres, including homes, schools, and institutions of care, at work and in communities. Children are exposed to many risks such as sexual violence, child marriage, physical and humiliating punishment, harmful traditional practices, among others,” she said.
Mrs. Secka said children should be protected from all forms of violence; “this is a key objective of the Sustainable Development Goals specifically in target 5.2 of Goal 5 of the SDGs.”
“The Government of the day, is highly committed to the protection of her children from all forms of violence, abuse and exploitation. We have laws such as the Children’s (Amendment) Act 2016, Tourism Offences Act 2003, the Women’s (Amendment) Act 2015 and the Domestic Violence Act 2013 amongst others, to protect children,” She said.
Meanwhile, the Vice Chairperson at the CPA Board of directors, Nfamara Dabo, said ratifying legal instruments and development of national legal frameworks alone, does not make us realize our commitment as a country in fulfilling the rights and welfare of children.
“We must take a step further to ensure the required resources are mobilized for effective implementation and enforcement. There should be budgetary allocations to ensure the implementation of the economic, social and cultural rights of children to the maximum and this is mandatory on all state parties under Article 4 of the CRC,” he said.