Human Rights Commission tasks leaders on children’s rights, welfare
Peter Bahago, Abuja
The National Human Rights Commission in Nigeria has called on African Leaders to address the rights and welfare of children in the continent who go through series of human rights challenges like poor access to education, health care, social amenities as well as victims of armed conflicts, Boko Haram insurgency, kidnappings and banditry.
The Executive Secretary of the Commission, Tony Ojukwu who made this call on the celebration of the Day of the African Child which is commemorated across the African countries on 16th of June every year noted that the killing of over 100 children on 16th of June 1976 in Soweto, South Africa for protesting the poor quality of education and demanding to be taught in schools in their language should be enough reason for Africans and indeed humanity to be sober and begin to do things differently to avoid continued violation of the rights of this vulnerable group.
“The theme of 2021 celebration, “30 years after the adoption of the Charter; Accelerate the implementation of the Agenda 2040 for an Africa fit for Children” is apt as it captures the need to comprehensively address the rights and welfare of children in Nigeria and indeed the entire Children in the whole of Africa, who go through series of Human Rights challenges like poor access to education, health care, social amenities as well as victims of armed conflicts, Boko Haram insurgency, kidnappings and banditry” he said.
He added that it is against this background, the Commission is reminding the governments across Africa to take urgent steps to dislodge criminal whose stock in trade is to disrupt school environment, kidnap students and scare fleeing others from contemplating going back to school, thereby jeopardising their rights to education.
The Executive Secretary further observed that political instability in some African countries such as Chad, Mali and worsening insecurity in the Sahel region and others where some countries including Nigeria are fighting to neutralise different armed groups have resulted in serious human rights and humanitarian crises of which children, young persons and women are the worst hit as their rights are violated with impunity.
“We do not want a situation where ‘children’s right to education in Africa becomes threatened in conflict/crisis situations, when schools and dormitories are indiscriminately attacked or when they are taken over by increasing numbers of IDPs over a prolonged period of time, thereby posing some difficulties in ascertaining the actual number of children in school and those out of school for record purposes and interventions”, the Executive Secretary said.
The Chief Human Rights Officer in Nigeria also noted that children caught in the web of conflict experience the worst form of violations as most of them are recruited as child soldiers and some easily become victims of killings, torture and mutilation and maiming pointing out that those in authority should put in more efforts to address these disturbing challenges to bring culprits to book and reassure the society of government protection towards.
He therefore called on government at all levels to take every necessary measure to tackle the issue of insecurity affecting the enjoyment of human rights, particularly child’s rights education which has been strongly challenged by increasing spate of kidnappings in schools across Africa.