Plan Cameroon, CAM-CRIN, and others lobby parliamentarians for the protection of children

by Fonban Emmanuel

souvenir photo after the working session
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The proliferation of conflicts in the world and Cameroon in particular have placed children in danger such that their rights are violated indiscriminately. It is for this reason that the Parliamentary Network for the Promotion of Policies and Actions in Favour of the Youths and Children abbreviated, REJE merged hands with Cameroon Child Rights Civil Society Organisation Network with acronym CAM-CRIN and supported by Plan International Cameroon, organised a working session to advocate the adoption of a new code on child protection.

This took place during a working session at the National Assembly on Monday, November 23, 2020 in the presence of parliamentarians, civil society organizations and government representatives in the child protection circle.

The interest on protecting children was the main focus of all who were represented in the working session but the session gave an opportunity for stakeholders to share their field experiences and consolidate ideas to come up with a better policy.

Representing the house speaker, was Deputy Speaker, Hon. Lifaka Monjowa Emilia who in her opening speech lauded the efforts of the brains behind the initiative and said the topic of interest was ideal.

However, from the different presentations made, government ministers had the opportunity to share difficulties and efforts made. “Challenges and difficulties in child protection due to the absence of a child protection Code in Cameroon” was a presentation made by the Minister of Social Affairs, Pauline Irene Nguene. Meanwhile Pr.Marie-Therese Abena Ondoa, the Minister of Women’s Empowerment and the Family, made a presentation on challenges and parental substitution policies due to inadequate legal and child protection framework in Cameroon.

The President of the Parliamentary network for youth advocacy, Hon Osih Joshua in his exchange with the media, outlined the need for a new code for child protection.

“Today we have desperate and scattered number of legal instruments and some are not up to the expectations of parents and Cameroonians in our communities. So, these instruments need to be enhanced and put together because when you have a series of instruments, no body really knows what the law is and so what happens is that you find children victims of situations” said Osih Joshua, REJE president.

He added that abusing children’s rights is an investment against Cameroon for the next forty to fifty years.

After a presentation that focused on “Enhancing the legal framework for child protection in Cameroon: challenges and way forward” done by Minister Jean de Dieu Momo who represented the Ministry of Justice, he insisted on the need for people to be aware of the need to protect children.

Representing Plan International Cameroon, the Programme Director for the organization, Dr. Collins Sayang said they work at community levels to understand children’s rights.

“We work in fighting against harmful practices but we also work at the national level supporting the government and civil society for better policies and laws so that the country has a child friendly judicial system. We have observed that when it comes to children’s protection in the country, Cameroon has done a lot especially ratifying child’s rights convention. So, all these will be consolidated in a single document that will be presented to the parliament for adoption” said Dr. Collins Sayang.

As their deliberations produce fruits in the hall, more is expected at the level of implementation and follow up to ensure that the time taken to advocate and design new policies, is appreciated through effective implementation on the field to help secure children and give them prosperous opportunities to live free from all barriers.

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