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International Day of the African Child 2020: Securing Africa’s future by treating children right

June 16 2020

In commemoration of the 16 June, 2020 Day of the African Child, the African Union (AU) reflects on the theme Access to a Child-Friendly Justice System in Africa.” The theme calls on all who witness wrongdoings against any and all African children to not remain docile and instead be the voice of reason for that child. Africans need to be vigilant and ready to rescue children being mistreated by getting involved and attempting to resolve the situation amicably. Even if attempts are not always successful, Africans need to continue to demand for just treatment of children.

The theme also celebrates organisations like Asante Africa Foundation. Through our  volunteers, staff and programs, we are continuously contributing to give African children hope, opportunity, and confidence for a better future. Caring for the physical and psychological needs of youth who may feel vulnerable, scared and emotionally isolated. This is particularly evident for young girls in these situations, who are often mistreated. 

Lugendo Samuel, an Asante Africa staff checking in with the students for their safety while they are out of school, Kassanda community, Uganda.

I served as the Dean of Student Affairs in a secondary school, Nigeria, where i often see abuse of power towards the students. One incident in particular stands out. An external state invigilator was said to be bullying students who were yet to settle down for the examinations. When I arrived at the hall I saw the invigilator maltreating a student. I told him to stop and told him if he feels aggrieved about any wrongdoing by the students, he should let me know so that I can discipline the student accordingly. But he was adamant and made his way to bully another student. It is common in African culture for adults to disregard children’s rights and treat them unjustly.

Urgent steps need to be taken to attend to African children, whose existence have been continually threatened by unjust cultural practices of communities and abusive behaviours by those they look up to for safety and protection. A child-friendly justice system is one in which African states can enforce legislation and international charters such as the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC) that seeks to protect the child. 

Innocent Iroaganachi