SRSG Maalla M’jid calls for greater commitment to the protection of children's rights at launch of report marking the 30th anniversary of the African Children´s Charter

New York, 30th November 2020 - To mark the 30th anniversary, SRSG Malla M'jid joined the launch of the African Child Policy Forum (ACPF) Report “Africa’s 30-year Journey with the African Children’s Charter: Taking Stock, Rekindling Commitment” - a call for all to redouble efforts and move forward with ever greater commitment to the protection of children's rights .

"As the report illustrates, the African Charter has been a driver of change for children in the last 30 years during which our continent has achieved significant progress that we need to celebrate. We have now more laws, policies and institutions and many good practices and lessons learnt on safeguarding the human rights of children, including their protection form all forms of violence in situations of peace, humanitarian emergencies and in conflict", said SRSG Maalla M'jid.

As Africa celebrates the momentous occasion of children’s rights, it is also high time to examine progress made towards ensuring that those rights are substantively achieved.

"There is no time for complacency. Weak implementation of legal and policy frameworks, lack of adequate budget for child rights,  lack of disaggregated data on children, prevalence of harmful practices, lack of access to justice, children living in war and in humanitarian emergencies,  combined with weak social and child protection, corruption, impunity and poor governance continue to compromise the human rights of girls and boys living in Africa.” added Dr.  Maalla M’jid.

At the event, Special Representative Maalla M'jid recalled that this anniversary coincides with the midterm review of Africa 2040 Agenda Fostering an Africa fit for children, with the Decade for Action to advance the Sustainable Development Goals which is linked to Agenda 2063 and with the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations. But it also happens in a world that is being rapidly and deeply transformed by the COVID19 pandemic which is not only a health crisis, but which has evolved into a broader child-rights crisis.

"The pandemic is affecting detrimentally every aspect of children’s lives, especially their social safety net, including peer-interaction, protection, education, mental health, family support, as well as access to health, social protection and other services. But we have seen an increase worldwide in children’s engagement by taking an active role to bridge the gaps. Children are raising awareness, supporting and encouraging each other, documenting and sharing their experiences. Children are helping their families and communities, reaching the most vulnerable and marginalized children in their communities. Children are suggesting solutions to ensure equal access for children to wellbeing and protection, as well as to provide support to families and members of communities, who had lost their livelihoods or are struggling to make ends meet." stressed the Special Representative.

To strengthen the overall actions on protecting children’s rights after the pandemic to building back better, the Dr. Maalla M'jid called for strong mobilization of all key stakeholders, including children, at global, regional and national levels, to keep the promise of the 2030 Agenda to end the pandemic of violence against children, leaving no one behind.