East African Community Headquarters, Arusha, 24th August 2016: The 2nd EAC Child Rights Conference themed Coordinated and Sustained Investment in Children is taking place on 25th to 26th August 2016 at the Desmond Tutu Conférence Centre in Westland in Nairobi, Kenya.
The 2nd EAC Child Rights Conference will launch the adopted EAC Child Policy and discuss the strategies for national implementation; take stock of the progress made towards the realisation of Child Rights based on the 1st EAC Conference and the Bujumbura Declaration commitments; and share experiences on the progress made in the realisation of Child Rights in the EAC and how to address the challenges encountered during implementation.
The Conference will also identify key and common barriers that negatively impact on the realisation of Child Rights in the EAC; and provide a platform for facilitating children participation in the definition of processes for integration of the EAC Child Policy at national level.
Commenting a head of the Conference, the EAC Deputy Secretary General in charge of Productive and Social Sectors, Hon. Jesca Eriyo said “using the EAC Child Policy as the point of convergence, the EAC Secretariat is advocating for “an East African agenda for the promotion of the Rights of the Child”.
This agenda will be implemented through enhancing the contribution of a wide range of stakeholders including Children. The agenda will present general principles and strategies that will ensure EAC’s actions are exemplary in ensuring the respect of provisions of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, and the EAC Child Policy.
“Furthermore, Partner States need to enhance accountability in Child Rights, especially budget allocation, delivering social services to children such as quality education, health, water, sanitation and social protection”, noted the EAC official, adding that “special focus should be given to vulnerable children, for example Internally Displaced Children, refugees, children in disaster, conflict and other emergency situations, children living and working on the streets, children with disabilities, children in conflict with the law, children heading households, child forced into prostitution, among others”.
Notes to Editors
The promotion and protection of the rights of the child is a key priority of the EAC. As emphasized in Article 120 (c) of the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community, Partner States undertake to closely co-operate amongst themselves in the field of social welfare with respect to the development and adoption of a common approach towards the disadvantaged and marginalized groups, including children, the youth, the elderly and persons with disabilities through rehabilitation and provision of, among others, health care, education and training.
Child Rights Situation within the East African Community region
According to the EAC strategic plan for gender, youth, children, persons with disabilities, social protection and community development, children constitute more than 50% of the EAC population. Each of these children has the right to development, survival, participation and protection as enshrined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) (and its Optional Protocols) and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC) some of which have been ratified and domesticated by the EAC Partner States.
A lot of progress has been made both at national and regional levels since the first EAC child rights conference which was held in September 2012 in Bujumbura, Burundi. The conference provided a platform through which the children of EAC shared views, opinions, fears and concerns. EAC has put in place a number of policy frameworks to facilitate the implementation of child rights in the region. Key among these is the EAC Development Strategy (2012-2016), the EAC Social Development Framework 2013, the EAC Strategic Plan for Gender, Youth, Children, Persons with Disability, Social Protection and Community development (2012-2016), the EAC Youth Policy (2014) and the newly adopted EAC Child Policy (2016) which is specifically targeted to children.
The EAC Child Policy is the culmination of various processes geared towards the harmonisation of standards and approaches to the implementation of child rights in the EAC. The Policy seeks to provide the region with an operational, legal, policy, and institutional framework to facilitate the development, co-ordination and strengthening of national efforts geared towards the promotion of children’s rights. The EAC Child Policy will facilitate the harmonisation of Child Rights standards in EAC Partner States as guided by the ACRWC and the UNCRC as the normative instruments for promoting child rights. The policy has also set out the priority areas in promoting child rights, and defined innovative strategies towards achieving the vision of ‘an East African Community where child rights and wellbeing are guaranteed.’
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