Last week, Eritrea hosted a two-day workshop on the popularization of “Africa’s Agenda for Children 2040” and the finding of the study on children on the move.
The workshop, which was organized by the African Union, was attended by East and Northern African countries including Eritrea, Somalia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan, Morocco, as well as regional and global organizations.
Local media outlets have already published the key-note speech of the Eritrean Minister of Labor and Social Welfare, Ms. Leul Gebreab, conveyed at the occasion. In her address, Ms Leul reminded the participants that Eritrea signed the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) soon after its independence and has been highly committed to the welfare of Eritrean children.
Q&A and ERI-TV spoke to Ms. Nanikie Nkwe, the Chairperson of the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare and Mr. Ayalo Getachew, child support officer working on legal matter at the ACERWC, to further get their opinion on the workshop and the main subject of the assembly.
Ms. Nanikie Nkwe
Chairperson of ACERWC
- Thank you for your time, Ms. Chairwoman. Could you first please tell us the objective of the workshop?
The objective of this workshop is to popularize agenda 2040, Africa’s agenda for children, and also to share with member states from the North and the Horn of Africa the findings of studies carried out throughout the continent regarding children on the move.
Our mission is to create an Africa that is fit for children by monitoring and implanting the charter and holding state parties to account for the implementation of Child treaty. And so, from the workshop we aspire to get member states of the African Union and state parties who have ratified the charter to understand the aspirations of Agenda 2040 and to be able to see the synergy between Agenda 2020 and the Charter, and therefore to leverage on this synergy.
- How do you evaluate member states’ approach towards the implantation of the agenda?
Our evaluation system is based on the report we receive from party states, that is our most critical indicator of how well countries are doing. Through this report we are able to understand how well the countries have done in terms of domesticating the charter and delivering the aspiration of the charter.
- What are the challenges encountered and achievements registered by this committee?
Our achievements are shown in the reports member states have been submitting. The indicators show improvements in the ratification of the charter. Of course, we do have challenges too. Sometimes some state parties report legislative reforms without indicating effectiveness of those legislative reforms. That is the major challenge but we are working hand in hand with them to help them translate the rewards of legislative forms in terms of realizing children’s right in the respective states.
- How do you evaluate Eritrea’s work to this end?
We received the report of Eritrea in 2015 and that to us was an indicator of the country’s commitment to the charter. We ultimately forwarded our concluding observations to Eritrean authorities and we are planning to come back in the near future to conduct a follow up mission. That mission will help us determine the commitment to the implementation of the charter. With us being here on the ground, working closely with governmental and non-governmental organizations as well as civil society organizations, I am certain that we will definitely attain more.
Mr. Ayalo Getachew
Child Support Officer Working on Legal Matter at ACERWC
- Can you please say a few words about the workshop?
This workshop is aimed at popularizing Agenda 2040, which is African Union’s agenda for children. We expect it to culminate by 2040. The agenda was adopted by the African Union in 2015 and incorporates ten guiding principles on the rights and welfare of children that should be implemented by member countries. Moreover, there is another segment in the workshop that aims at popularizing recommendations and findings that this continental body has taken regarding children on the move in Africa. So our objective is a dual segment objective.
- What is the role of the African Union in protecting the rights and welfare of children?
The African Union has different organs and institutions. One of the organs which has actually organized this workshop is the African Committee of Experts for the Rights and Welfare of the Child. This organ was established to monitor the African Charter on the rights and welfare of children. It is a continental instrument that outlines the rights of children, of course, but also the duties and responsibilities of member states, which the State of Eritrea is also part of. The committee’s mandate whereby the rights of children are also promoted is wide and broad. Starting from setting standards by undertaking investigative missions and other guidelines to engage member states on the ground through forums and bilateral dialogues to protecting and promoting children’s right within the continent as well as within the member states of the African Union.
Therefore, from this specific workshop we are trying to bridge the link between member states and the regional economic community within the region of the Horn and North Africa. We have IGAD and UMA on board.
There seems to be some kind of disconnection between child rights work in the region of the Horn of Africa, at member state level, and child rights work within the regional economic communities. So, now we are trying to identify the major challenges and concerns that member states in these two regions have within the legal and economic frame and trying to bridge the two by creating dialogues. We believe this is the initial conversation in this region to enhance the protection and implementation of children’s right.
- Thank you for your time.