The African Committee of Experts on the Right and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC) urges Uganda to double its efforts to address challenges that children continue to face in order to ensure a progressive future of the country.
The African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC) is the first and only child rights treaty body of its kind in the world with the competence to receive complaints against States. It was established by Article 32 of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC).
Anne Musiwa, Uganda’s rapporteur at the African Committee of Experts on the Right and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC), says that despite progress that has been made especially on the policy and legislation, Ugandan children still face many challenges that require actions that will produce results.
“Despite commendable progress, 20% of these children still live in extreme poverty, lack access to basic necessities such as adequate nutrition, clean water and education,” says Musiwa.
Speaking at the annual civil society symposium to foster child focused collaboration and cross cutting learning, organized by the UCRNN, Musiwa notes that child labor affects approximately 8% of children.
Citing to the UNFPA report in Uganda she says that around 30,000 children were impregnated by close relatives, which is a cause of concern that requires that all stakeholders come out with better strategies for child safeguarding within the home environment.
Meanwhile the Ministry of gender says they continue to register over 300 cases of abuse against children on a monthly basis.
Franco Tollea, the Assistant Commissioner for Youths and Children affairs, says that the government is taking steps to respond to this challenge through a new policy that is now being distributed countrywide.
“At the peak of the covid19 lockdown cabinet approved the National Child Policy 2020, this policy after approval, was launched and now we have started disseminating it to local governments. We do what we call strengthening systems for child protection and that is our concern,” says Tollea.
He further explains that after dissemination, government is establishing district and sub country wellbeing committees and para social workers allocated in the village which are supposed not only to respond but also prevent all forms of child abuse and exploitation.
Damon Wamara, the Executive Director Uganda National NGO Forum explains the challenges that have persisted that need to be addressed.
Wamara says the key thing is ensuring that parents are carrying out their responsibility, they are looking after their children.
He says secondly, we need to invest in the protection of our children.
“This means we need to see more allocation from the government towards responding to child protection issues that come up, ensuring there is adequate budget and allocation of these resources for us (CSOs) to be able to respond efficiently and effectively and finally towards ensuring that these children get justice by the perpetrators being brought to book”.