ECOWAS mobilises member states on child protection

Lagos, Nigeria (PANA) - The ECOWAS Commission has called on member states to support the implementation of regional Policy and Plan of Action for Child Protection and Child Trafficking, as entry points for addressing the challenges related to the protection of the rights of women and children in the region.

ECOWAS Commissioner for Human Development and Gender Adrienne Diop made the call at the opening of a three-day training workshop in Nigeria's capital, Abuja, for member states on the Implementation of the Policy and Action Plan,

She said the Commission had adopted an approach that recognises the linkages between child protection, trafficking in persons and child labour.

In the address, delivered on her behalf by Director of Humanitarian Affairs Daniel Eklu, the Commissioner noted the three elements were each anchored by the Child Policy and Action Plan (now the Child Protection Monitoring and Evaluation Framework, which was validated a month ago), Trafficking in Persons Plan of Action and Policy on Protection and Assistance to victims of human trafficking, and the Child Labour Regional Action Plan.

These three elements, she said, “constitute a tripod upon which the effort for the protection of children and other vulnerable groups rest.”

The Commissioner said the meeting should serve a dual purpose of “examining the Synthesis Report emanating from implementation of the ECOWAS Counter Trafficking Plan of Action in the past year, and developing the capacities of participants for both the implementation of the Trafficking in Persons Plan of Action and comparable measures to ensure the protection of children in the region.

The Commissioner said the training would also afford the opportunity for familiarisation with the frameworks within ECOWAS for counter trafficking and child protection, and throw up strategies required to ensure an appropriate protective environment for children in the region.

A representative of the International Labour Organisation, Mr. Krishnamoortht Kukkikatte, highlighted factors hindering the welfare and development of children in West Africa, such as exploitation, including trafficking and various forms of child labour.

He called for support for ECOWAS’ initiatives and the implementation of the regional Policy and Action Plan by member states.

Also speaking at the occasion, Martin Ocaga of the International Organisation for Migration said the UN agency fully supported ECOWAS efforts “to achieve a Child Protection Framework System for member states that will ensure an environment where girls and boys are free from violence, exploitation, and abuse, and where laws, services, behaviours and practices minimise children’s vulnerability, address known risk factors and strengthen children’s own resilience.”

The Chairman of the meeting, Mr. Kouadio Kra Herve, Director, Child Protection, in Cote d’Ivoire’s Ministry of Family, Women and Child Protection, called for the harmonisation of various national efforts by member states in support of the regional initiatives for effective protection of women, children and other vulnerable groups in the region.
-0- PANA SEG 30Nov2012

30 november 2012 13:35:34

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