By: G Bennie Bravo Johnson
The Liberia National Children’s Parliament is calling on the government of Liberia through the Ministry of Education to introduce the amended 2011 Children’s Law of Liberia in Schools.
The speaker of the Children’s Parliament Joel UK Gray stated that the teaching of the Children’s Law in schools will educate children of their fundamental rights and their role in society and as well guide them to brighter future that will make Liberia a better society.
“Though the Children’s Law doesn’t specify punishment for every violation of children rights, but due to Ministry of Education lack of interest in making the Children’s Law part of the curriculum of Liberia, have brought a huge gap in the mind of many children from knowing their rights and responsibilities.” speaker Gray said.
Mr. Gray asserted that as result of the Children’s Law not been teach in schools, when children come in conflict with the law, they cannot be given more attention but rather be treated as adults.
He further asserted that there some negative customary laws that are in contradiction to 2011 Children’s Law of Liberia, alluding that the customary law which provide for a girl child to get married at age 16 is a contradiction to the Children’s Law.
He expressed that the act which should be considered as rape has still been practice because there are not many children who have knowledge of the Children’s Law and to use it as a legal guide to resist said marriage.
At the same time, the speaker Joel Gray informed the Liberian children that the 2022, Children’s Day will be held on September 30, 2022, and will be characterized with colorful activities where children will be made to display the intellectual ability and talents.
The Liberian Children Day was established in September 2011 by the Government of Liberia through the 53rd National Legislature along with UNICEF by enacting the 2011 Children’s Law of Liberia.
The government of Liberia is signatory to many international standards; the signing of the 1989 United Nation Convention on the right of the Child placed Liberia under the obligation to protect the fundamental rights of children living within it borders.
The 1999/2001 African chapter on the right of the child that create a space for equal participation and the well-being of all Liberian children.
As a results of these signings, in 2002, the Liberian government through the national Legislature established the national Children’s Parliament.
The establishment of the Children’s Parliament came after special session on children in which members countries were called on to set up a Children’s Parliament where children will freely express their views and take into account when policy is being made.
Liberia been a member states of international standards in the interest of children, and following the challenges in Liberia where children are abounded in all sectors of Life including and are exposed to violence and drugs abuse which are over the time exposing children to be seem as examples of victims in society, this year children’s day will be held under the theme “Supporting the future for a better Liberia.”
Meanwhile, speaker Gray further revealed that this year children day celebration will create a space where children will speak on national issues affecting them mostly the Customary Law of Liberia which says children can get marry.
He stated that the celebration which will bring together about 150 children (Boys: 75 and Girls: 75) across Montserrado mostly district#7 will be used to create awareness on sexual gender based violence mostly Rape and early marriage.
“Based on our own research many children in Montserrado are involved into early sex below the age 16 years which lead to teenage pregnancy and children are watching pornography as a result most children come in conflict with the law intends of rape from district#7 Montserrado.”
The speaker further revealed that this year celebration will be used as a fund raiser to get children of the streets and back in school, an action he considers as restoring the future of Liberian children.
“Child Labor is on the increase in Montserrado which lead to lot of children uneducated and has dropped out of school, as a result the future is not progressing to take over as we want it to be as well.
We will be having a fund-raising program to get children off the street to school, about 30 students from our celebration through your support for better mama Liberia.”