NOEL IYOMBWA writes
ZAMBIA has been ranked among the least child-friendly African countries in the 2018 National Child Rights Forum report.
The African Child Policy Forum measures the child friendliness of African governments through its Child Friendliness Index.
The index is a tool that assesses the extent to which a government is meeting its international and continental commitments to children’s rights and well-being, among other key indicators it takes into account.
Speaking on behalf of NCRF, Judith Mulenga said Zambia was number 27 out of 52 countries and classified among the fairly child-friendly African countries.
But 10 years later, it had retrogressed in the latest report published in 2018 measuring Progress in Child-friendliness of African Governments.
Zambia had slid to 48 out of 52.
Ms Mulenga said the report cited Zambia on a number of other child rights violations and on legal protection of children.
The citations indicted Zambia of having omitted to adopt several child related laws such as the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of a Child (UN CRC) on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Pornography as well as the Optional Protocol to the UN CRC on Children in Armed Conflict.
“We, the members of the National Child Rights Forum (NCRF), a loose coalition of 25 non-governmental and faith-based organisations that promote and protect children’s rights kindly ask that the government present the Children Code Bill at the next National Assembly session that opens on June 18, 2019,” Ms Mulenga said.
“No excuse is justifiable anymore for a process that started in 2006 and when not less than 51 bills have been enacted since 2017 when the State had pledged to have the bill presented to Parliament for enactment,” she said.
Ms Mulenga said the delayed enactment of the Children Code Bill had denied many Zambian children who would have benefited from the progressive provisions in the last 13 years since the comprehensive review of all child-related laws begun.
“We believe that this delay is simply reflective of successive governments’ placing of children’s well-being as a non-priority matter. How else can Zambia explain the quick development and expedited enactment of the 51 new laws since 2017 at the expense of this long standing bill?”