Workshop on Popularization of “Africa’s Agenda for Children 2040” and the Findings of the Study on Children on the Move.
Distinguished Representatives of the UN System in Eritrea
Distinguished Representatives of the Horn and North African States;
Distinguished Members of the ACERWC Secretariat,
Ladies and Gentlemen;
It gives me a great pleasure to welcome you all to Asmara.
My thanks goes to the ACERWC and its Secretariat for convening this timely and important Workshop on popularization of Africa’s Agenda for Children 2040 in Eritrea. I am sure this august assembly will find the Report of the Study on Children on the Move very insightful and highly relevant to the policies that individual member States will chart out to eliminate or mitigate the adverse dimensions of this malaise.
As you will recall, Eritrea signed the CRC soon after its formal independence on the 24th of May 1993. This firm commitment to the provisions of the CRC was amplified by its subsequent ratification of the African Children’s Charter in 2000; at the most inauspicious moment when it was embroiled in the unfortunate and costly border war with Ethiopia. The Government has also submitted its 4th report to the CRC and a comprehensive initial report to the ACERWC in the years thereafter in line with its obligations.
Perhaps what needs more emphasis is the fact that accession to these international conventions merely formalized Eritrea’s profound commitment to Children’s Rights. Indeed, this was demonstrated unequivocally during the critical period of the 30-year liberation war. The guiding principle of the EPLF in those difficult years was to prohibit children from bearing arms; from adoring violence and conflict under any circumstances.
Excellences; Ladies and Gentlemen;
Let me salute the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC), for their hard work and commitment for the betterment of Africa’s Children. The efforts exerted to chart out Agenda 2040 under the motto: ‘Fostering Africa fit for Children’ are commendable indeed.
This is consistent with the view that no country can really achieve sustainable development without nurturing and developing the potential of its children; the future bearers of our society. The ACERWC study on Mapping Children on the Move indeed provides a holistic picture and approach for addressing the challenges Africa is facing.
In this respect, it is imperative that we collectively address the root causes of the multi-faceted problem, and take collective action to prevent the victimization of children; to protect them from the scourges of human trafficking and smuggling, and to bring to justice the criminal networks involved in the reprehensible acts. In this vein, Eritrea is working in earnest to address these issues at the national level as well as within the AU Horn of Africa Initiative under the framework of the Khartoum Process and the UN System. As you are aware, Eritrea is currently chairing the Khartoum Process which brings together about 40 Horn of Africa and European States.
Excellences; Ladies & Gentlemen,
While recognizing the primary role of individual countries to spearhead the efforts to promote children’s rights with the involvement and collaboration of all internal stakeholders, we remain convinced of the simultaneous need to seek ways and means for enhancing regional and global cooperation to ensure optimal output and synergy on Agenda 2040.
The financial and human resource limitations that affect most of our countries is obvious to merit emphasis. In this respect, the need to harmonize the different conventions related to the rights of the Child is evident. This has been costing us time and money. Multiplicity and duplicity of meetings; the requirements of producing similar reports to different bodies and venues require rationalization. Harmonization of procedural modalities must be worked out and agreed among the CRC, the African Charter on Child Rights, the ILO’s convention on Child labour and other similar bodies for higher effectiveness and efficiency.
Furthermore, the upbringing of the child depends on the family at large and women in particular in traditional African societies and due consideration is needed to look at these dimensions in an integrated matter. The starting point can be harmonizing the CRC and CEDAW provisions since they address the same critical issues of the child’s right, which overlap in many areas and can reinforce each other if a comprehensive and pragmatic way is applied.
Excellences; Ladies and Gentlemen:
Let me conclude my brief remarks by reiterating Eritrea’s firm commitment to ensure the full respect of the Rights of the Child both by marshalling the necessary political good will and requisite resources.
I wish you the best of success in your deliberations to popularize Agenda 2040, and wish you a pleasant stay in Asmara.
I thank you!