West African leaders declare Decade of ECOWAS Child

Dakar- Senegal (PANA) -- West African leaders have declared 2001- 2010 as the "Decade of the ECOWAS Child" in sustained efforts to protect the rights of children in the 15-nation sub-region.
In a communique issued at the end of their 25th Summit in Dakar Friday, the regional leaders expressed concern at the "violence meted out to children particularly in conflict zones and by the suffering endured by handicapped children.
" The exploitation of children in the sub-region also involves "slave labour" and using them as child soldiers.
The communique said the declaration of the Decade was in adherence to the inalienable principles of the African Charter for the Rights and welfare of the Child and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
ECOWAS officials said the Decade would feature various activities including public enlightenment campaigns about the plight of children and enforcement of conventions protecting their rights.
The ECOWAS leaders also adopted a Political Declaration and Initial Plan of Action Against Human trafficking, proposed last October by their experts at a meeting in Accra, Ghana.
Member countries were urged to effectively implement the provisions of the declaration and the Action Plan to stem the smuggling of mostly young women lured to Europe for prostitution.
The communique thanked the UN International Drug Control Programme and Crime Prevention Centre, based at The Hague, for its contribution to the elaboration of the working documents on human trafficking.

21 december 2001 20:48:00

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