African Forum discusses rights of African children
Regional, Culture, 5/29/2001
Addressing the forum, Secretary General of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) Salim Ahmad Salim said that the Convention of the Rights of the Child in Africa was drafted in 1998 and sponsored by the 26th African summit.
Salim said that the African convention included items that have not been mentioned in international convention such as the children's duty towards their families.
He warned against recruiting children under the age of 18 in armed conflicts, pointing out that the number of countries that signed the Convention on the Rights of the Child in Africa amounted to 32 countries while the number of those that ratified it was 23.
In order to overcome the difficulties that block the implementation of the convention, Salim proposed drawing up a programme to improve the children's environment and creating dialogue with them to improve their skills.
The OAU chief highlighted the role of the NGOs in ensuring the rights of children and spreading awareness among them.
Participants urged frankness in handling issues related to diseases and health and social services.
In her opening speech, Mrs. Mubarak said that the four-day forum was a very important component of the regional initiatives to prepare for the UN General Assembly's special session on children, scheduled for September.
Mrs. Mubarak said that the UN special session is going to assess the performance of the International Community in implementing the commitments World leaders made at the first World Summit for Children.
She said she was confident that the Forum's deliberations will constitute a key step in the Global Movement for Children.
"I recall our optimism when we met at the World Summit for Children in New York in September of 1990. For the first time in history, world leaders made commitments to improve the situation of their children,"she noted"
We reviewed and agreed upon a set of child survival and development goals that seemed achievable by the year 2000 for all, or most, countries. At that time the Convention on the Rights of the Child had only its first signatories," Mrs. Mubarak said.
"At the summit, we agreed on an Action Plan to achieve a universal ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. It seemed an ambitious goal at the time. Since then the momentum around child rights has made it the most widely recognized of all international treaties," she added.
She said " That movement to ratify the convention not only spread across all of Africa but also paved the way to the African Charter on the Rights and the Welfare of the Children of Africa and achievements in this respect surpassed expectations.
"We have all worked hard to keep the process that we made in 1990 to improve the survival and development of our children. Now it is the time to evaluate the implementation of these promises.
"Progress has been made, but this past decade has also had its disappointments for us all," Mrs. Suzanne said.
We must have the courage to say that the efforts made, certainly the results achieved, fell far short of our obligations, let alone our hopes.
Although we have seen some advances in some countries, there has been overall failure in many sectors. The record for achieving the World Summit goals is poorer than any other region in the world.
Speech of Mrs. Suzanne Mubarak at the pan African Forum on the future of Children
Mrs. Mubarak with African youth, children
Mrs. Mubarak inaugurates African child forum
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