Message from the President

Warm Greetings to all!  Allow me first to express my best wishes to you all for this New Year.

george-nykaroThese last months have been particularly busy for the AMC which has resulted in the publication and dissemination of its report entitled “An Africa Fit for Children: Progress and challenges ”. It was officially launched at the Third Pan-African Forum for Children held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on 19-20th November, 2012. AMC was actively involved in the discussions at the Third Pan-African Forum for Children, and is also committed to support efforts by the African Union Commission as well as African Governments in making Africa a better place for children.

Africa has recorded some notable positive outcomes towards the protection of children in 2012. We have seen many accomplishments in legal and policy reform, with Rwanda and Lesotho ratifying The Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption; the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was ratified by Benin, Djibouti, Ghana, Liberia, Mauritania, Mozambique and Swaziland. Of note is the ratification of the new Optional Protocol to the CRC on a Communications Procedure by Gabon – the first African country to ratify this Protocol. New child rights statutes were passed in Swaziland and Rwanda, and draft Constitutions in Somalia, Zambia and Zimbabwe contain specific child rights provisions.

Despite these encouraging trends in legal and policy reform, some challenges still remain. There are many troubling developments on the continent that threaten the rights and livelihoods of children.  The continued instability in Northern Mali and the recruitment of children in armed conflicts in Central African Republic are particularly worrisome, as their after-effects cut across families, communities, and borders. The situations in these countries require our continued attention and resolution. In addition, it is estimated that more than one million children in the Sahel will suffer from malnutrition in 2013. Furthermore, violence against children in all its forms and settings still remains high. There is therefore an increasingly urgent need for more collective action at strategic levels to champion the best interest of the child in Africa.

We are in the dawn of a new year and the AMC will strive to increase efforts to protect Africa’s children. We hope to build on the momentum we realised in 2012, with key activities focusing on bolstering membership subscription, information sharing and other collective initiatives – all with the ultimate aim of nurturing Africa’s most important resource: its children and young people.

I would like to take a moment to thank all of our members for making the AfricaWide Movement what it is today. I encourage all members to support the AMC through information sharing and dialogue, and look forward to the next year with great anticipation as we continue to lay down the framework from which this AMC will grow.

I look forward to working together with all actors to ensure a brighter future for our youth and children in 2013.

George Nyakora
President

   

A call for prioritising the safety of children during elections in Africa

In 2013, the governments of 21 countries in Africa, namely, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Libya, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Rwanda, Somaliland, Swaziland, Togo, Tunisia and Zimbabwe are expected to hold national elections.

In some African countries, national elections have in the past been marred with violence and become a great cause for security and safety concerns. Unfortunately, when there is conflict and unrest during elections, children are the ones who suffer the most as they experience increased vulnerabilities during such times.  The AfricaWide Movement for Children (AMC) expresses its concern overthe existence of violence pre and post-elections in Africa, and calls upon all concerned actors to ensure children are protected during the upcoming elections.

Election violence negates peaceful coexistence, law and order. In addition to security concerns, it has significant impact on children’s wellbeing.There are significant nutritional, health, education, shelter, security and protection concerns associated with electoral violence in Africa. Past reports on electoral violence in Africa, have shown that children have been killed and maimed, recruited in hostilities, abducted, internally displaced, trafficked,denied humanitarian assistance, neglected, raped and have experienced other forms of grave violent acts. Electoral violence has also been associated with destruction of property, attacks against schools and hospitals and looting affecting food security. While men and boys experience violence during elections, women and girls are particularly at a higher risk of experiencing violence because the disintegration of families and communities leaves them more vulnerable to any form of violence.

It is the responsibility of all governments to ensure that electoralactivities are carried out in an open and democratic manner in order to promote good governance and accountability.Political parties and all Candidates should act in the best interestsof children, by ensuring electoral campaigns do not incite violence, and that children do not take part in campaigns during election periods. The AMC urges CSOs toensure adequate resources to strengthen the available systems for protecting children and develop early warning emergency systems that will cater for children should the need arise. Furthermore, communities are encouraged to create violence-free and child-sensitive environments, which include keeping schools out of conflict and safe during the election period. No agents of violence must be allowed to conscript children into their groups and whoever does so must be subjected to the law.

   
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