African Child Day 2019: ‘Bunge la Watoto’ Allows Children to Speak for Their Rights

African Child Day 2019: ‘Bunge la Watoto’ Allows Children to Speak for Their Rights

Posted 3 years ago by admin

Legal and Human Rights Centre continues to empower children on their rights including the right to expression so that they can speak up against violence whenever they are intimidated or face a violation. On June 15, 2019, LHRC organized a model children parliament ‘Bunge la Watoto’ where children from various regions of Tanzania gathered to discuss on their rights.

During the children parliament session that took place in Dar es Salaam, children discussed various issues that affect their well-being and issued recommendations to the government, stakeholders, and community. Issues discussed centered around challenges facing children including early marriage, teen pregnancy, violence against children and poor and/or lack of family care leading to the discharge of children from their families to the streets.

Also, children made use of the platform to call for the government's intensified awareness creation to the general public on the rights of children. Improvement of social services for children to enjoy their rights to education, health, and clean water. Improvement of legal and policy framework as well as influencing positive practices for the protection and promotion of children is another call made by children. Apart from the government, children urged the members of the community, in general, to safeguard the wellbeing of children. 

Before that, LHRC had conducted students essay writing competition on children rights and the top three winners were empowered to participate in the children parliament and take over leadership positions. The first place winner took over the office of the Inspector General of Police (IGP), the second took over the office of the Kisarawe District Council, and the third took over the office of LHRC Executive Director. 

The three winners of essay writing competition are Hollo Marco from Mkula Secondary School in Simiyu (first place); Happy George from Sovi Secondary School in Njombe (second place) and Angel Hatibu from Yakini Secondary School in Arusha (third place).

As we commemorate African Child Day 2019, let us be reminded of our role to protect children from any form of violence. Tanzania Human Rights Report 2018 depicts escalating violence especially sexual violence against children which hinders children from enjoying their basic rights. According to the report, in most cases, the perpetrators of violence against children are close relatives to children. This deters the possibility for children to acquire legal redress because many cases are resolved at the family level.

Legal and Human Rights Centre is striving to create a just and equitable society; a society where children will enjoy their rights. To attain that, LHRC will continue with the implementation of the objective 4 of her strategic plan 2019-2024 aiming at improving the legal and policy frameworks governing specific rights of women, children, and persons with disabilities.

The Day of the African Child has been celebrated on June 16 every year since 1991, when it was first initiated by the then Organisation of African Unity (OAU) now African Union (AU). The day honors those who participated in the Soweto Uprising in 1976 on that day. It also raises awareness of the continuing need for improvement of the education provided to African children.

The theme for 2019 is “Children are the Foundation for a Sustainable Nation: Protect Them, Support Them and Allow Them to Develop.”