Children National Assembly of The Gambia (CNAG) has urged the Gambia government “to fulfill its commitments and take action for child rights now once and for all”. The CNAG made the call during their second sitting since inception of the children’s assembly.

Children National Assembly calls gov’t to action

Hon. Tida Barrow, member for Kanifing Municipality (KM), who read the Order Paper on behalf of CNAG, stated: “Children National Assembly of The Gambia (CNAG) is a child-led, non-statutory body established by the Government of The Gambia, through the Gambia National Assembly and the National Youth Council in partnership with UNICEF The Gambia, Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Welfare, Child Protection Alliance, ChildFund The Gambia and the National Youth Parliament with the ultimate aim to promote and advocate for the rights of all children as enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child and all other legal instruments pertaining to the promotion, protection and development of children in The Gambia.”

Hon.  Barrow recognises the fact but “despite the progress made, there are still challenges the country is grappling with which calls for collective action” by the Government and other relevant stakeholders to address them for the adequate protection, provision, participation and development of children in The Gambia.

In view of the above, CNAG, she states, calls on the government to respect, protect and fulfill the rights of every child in The Gambia irrespective of background, religion, ethnicity, disability or any other consideration or status.

She said they want the government and the society to “adequately and effectively enforce and implement all the laws” which protect children from all forms of sexual abuse, violence, exploitation, hazardous labour and trafficking.

Government, she continued, should also adequately and effectively implement and enforce the Children’s (Amendment) Act 2016, which prohibits child marriage, and the Women’s (Amendment) Act 2015, which prohibits Female Genital Mutilation/ Cutting, and diligently prosecute violators of these laws.

She added that Government should make basic and secondary education totally free, compulsory, qualitative, accessible and available to all children, including children in Arabic Schools “Madarasas”, and also establish standard science and IT laboratories in all schools in The Gambia and support their effective functioning.

Government should also “provide adequate school buses in all the regions of The Gambia”, particularly for rural Gambia, she stated.

She also urged society to break the culture of silence surrounding child sexual abuse and exploitation through organising open national and community dialogues using all available channels.

“Promote and fulfil the rights of children with disabilities, fight discrimination and stigmatisation against them and ensure they have access to all services and buildings,” she told the government and society, saying: “Encourage the active participation and involvement of children in decision-making processes at the national and local levels, including through child-friendly digital technologies.”

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