By: G Bennie Bravo Johnson
Liberia National Children’s Representatives Forum formerly Children’s Parliament on Wednesday August 10, 2022 made recommendations to the United Nations in Liberia for continuous engagements with the Forum and to have the institution included in the current activities and programs of the UN.
The Forum is the only legitimate institution of Liberian children.
At a courtesy call meeting with the United Nations’ Resident Coordinator in Liberia, His Excellency, Neils Scott at the UN One House in Monrovia, the Speaker of the Children’s Forum Mr. Joel UK Gray on behalf of the Liberian children appreciated the works of the UN in Liberia since the eruption of the civil crisis and post war rebuilding efforts especially the Liberian children, who have suffered the worst impacts of the war.
During a media engagement, Mr. Gray informed newsmen of the congratulatory statement made to the office of the UN Resident Coordinator for leading immense efforts of the UN through its many organs working in Liberia to support the government of Liberia and civil society movements, as well as local communities.
While reiterating on the sad reality of how the Forum has been excluded from the national budget, which according to him is impeding the efforts of the group leadership for effective monitoring and robust advocacy for children issues across the country, an action he described as affront and deliberate neglect of the only legislated national children body of the republic.
Meanwhile he recommended to the UN through the office of Mr. Neils Scott to engage the Liberian government to support the National Children Representatives Forum to ensure space for young people by providing education opportunities and employment.
Further revealing his recommendations made to the UN Resident Coordinator, the Children Forum Chief Executive Officer called on the Liberian government to make; the free and compulsory primary education for children across Liberia in line with the Education Law ( Article 3(9.3).
The amendment of the 2011 Children’s law of Liberia; Inclusion in the National budget under the Ministry of Gender Children and Social Protection; Increasing the budget of Ministry of Justice and the Gender Ministry as a means of enhancing protection for children in villages, communities and towns across Liberia, he added.
Still on the recommendations, he revealed further he called on the UN to prevail on political parties to stop using young people to get involved with violence in order to achieve their egocentric political gain.
“In my final comment, I condemn political parties using young people to get involved in ” violence”, and I urged the UN and the international community for immediate intervention with various political parties and politicians to desist from using children and young people to cause violence.”
He indicated that children were used to caused havoc during the dark days of Liberia as they ignorantly killed one another and destroyed the country two decades ago.
“The impacts have been indelible and we can’t never go back to such an experience”, the Children’s Representatives Forum Speaker emphasized further.
“I reiterated the gratitude of the Children Forum for the invitation and expressed our readiness to support his office’s efforts in protecting the children of Liberia and ensuring their well-being”, Mr. Gray said.