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NEWS : Local News  

Sierra Leone News: Child marriage violates human rights – VP Foh
By Alimatu Fofanah
Jun 25, 2015, 12:42
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By Alimatu Fofanah

Kabala, June 23 (SLENA) - Vice President, Ambassador Victor Bockarie Foh has emphasized that child marriage is a violation of human rights and that its affects all aspects of the child’s life.

Child marriage, he said places children at risk for multiple deprivation and hence constitute an obstacle to the achievement of nearly every Millennium Development Goal.

The Vice President made this statement at the recent commemoration ceremony of the day of the African Child at the Kabala Community Centre on the theme “End Child Marriage in Sierra Leone”.

The theme, the Vice President noted, was more appropriate and timely as the practice is still going on in some parts of the country.

He said His Excellency, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma has committed himself and his government in addressing some of the social vices in society which include but not limited to the National Strategy for the Reduction of Teenage Pregnancy.

The Vice President went on to state that the increasing rate of teenage pregnancy and child marriage top policy discussions at both government and development partners levels.

The 2011 National Multiple Cluster survey, the Vice President said, revealed that about 16% of children got married before age 15 and that about 58% got married at age 18.

The Vice President condemned the practice of child marriage and encouraged all children with particular preference to the girls, parents, family, traditional and religious leaders and stakeholders in the various communities to commit themselves to end child marriage in the country.

June 16, 1976, Ambassador Foh recalled, was the day South African children were brutally killed in an uprising while demanding for an improvement in their educational system.

The commemoration of the day, VP Foh maintained, provides an opportunity for the government of Sierra Leone and development partners including NGOs and communities to renew their on-going commitment in improving the plight of marginalized and particularly vulnerable children by ensuring they are protected from all depressing customary and traditional practices that will impede the accomplishment of their full potentials.

He said as a government, they will continue to prioritize the human development of the people of this nation with special penchant to the children as stated in Pillar 3 of the President’s Agenda for Prosperity.

He added that in Pillar 8 of the Agenda for Prosperity, the government of President Ernest Bai Koroma has paid keen attention t and access to all levels of education will be improved significantly.

Addressing the issue of children’s welfare and protection, the Hon. Vice President said the government of His Excellency, through the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs has adopted a robust Child Welfare Policy that would assist in strengthening the child protection system.

He concluded by expressing his gratitude to the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs and all stakeholders and partners for their tremendous efforts in making the occasion a success.

Speaking also was Country Director of Plan, Casely Coleman who said the theme of the occasion accelerated their collective efforts in ending child marriage in Africa, adding that his organization recognized the importance of working in partnership with government and the specific role of the organization in engagement with children, families and communities to protect children.

UNICEF Rep, Geofr Wiffin, in his address, emphasized on the effect of child marriage stating that UNICEF will continue to work with the Government of Sierra Leone in the fight to end Child Marriage.

Also addressing were the Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children Affairs, Alhaji Moijue Kaikai, Minister of Finance, Kaifala Marrah and Deputy Minister of Youths who all made meaningful statements.


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