Day of the African Child commemorated in Uganda
ANPPCAN Uganda chapter
ANPPCAN Uganda chapter was part of the national Day of the African Child celebrations on June 16th, 2016 at the Masaka Rebaration grounds in Uganda. The celebration marked the launch of two important child rights protection tools; the national case management hand book and the training manual for the child protection rights caseworkers. These child rights protection tools were launched by the event guest of honor; the then minister for Gender Labour and Social development, Honorable Muluri Mukasa, who is now the current Minister for Public Service. The function was characterized by various edutainment presentations from the children and youths reflecting upon the day’s theme.
The Day of the African Child (DAC) is commemorated every year on 16 June by Member States of the African Union (AU), and its Partners (in accordance with Resolution CM/Res.1290 (XL)). This occasion is firstly a commemoration to recall the 1976 uprisings in Soweto, when a protest by school children in South Africa against apartheid-inspired education resulted in the public killing of these unarmed young protesters by police officials. Exactly 40 years ago, on 16 June 1976, thousands of students in Soweto woke up and prepared to join a march in protest against the apartheid regime. They were speaking out against the discrimination they suffered at school as black children and the poor standard of the curriculum, and called on the authorities to respect their right to an education in their own language. The South African police released dogs and fired real bullets at the children. Police retaliation went on for two weeks. Hundreds of children were killed and hundreds more injured. As a reminder, the Day of the African Child is celebrated every year on 16 June, a commemoration launched in 1991 by the Organization of African Unity (OAU) – the predecessor of the African Union – as part of its African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, which was adopted in July 1990.
The Da of the African Child (DAC) further presents an opportunity to focus on the work of all actors committed to the rights of children on the continent, to consolidate their efforts in addressing the obstacles for achieving these rights. The DAC also provides an occasion for Governments, International Institutions and Communities to renew their on-going commitments towards improving the plight of marginalized and particularly vulnerable children by organizing activities aimed at including these specific children in commemorating the Day of the African Child.
THEME FOR THE DAY OF THE AFRICAN CHILD, 2016:
The theme for this year’s commemoration was, “Protecting Children’s Rights, a Call to Action.” The theme calls for attention of all Stakeholders to re-focus and assess the status of rights of the children in general and the different programmatic interventions to address the situation.
Our Focus this year
This year the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social development is focusing on key child rights violations that are rampant in the official national commemoration district (Masaka District); including early marriages, child and teenage pregnancies, child labour, violence against children in and out of school and Child Sacrifice. However, assessment of the overall status of children’s rights is paramount.
ANPPCAN Uganda chapter participated at the national level preparations as a member of the national organizing committee but also in the district preparations for the Day of the African Child. The districts that got involved in spearheading the celebrations included Jinja, Arua, Iganga, and Luwero districts in Uganda.
NATIONAL LEVEL ENGAGEMENTS:
Prior to the commemoration of the Day of the African Child, ANPPCAN Uganda participated in the national children’s conference on the 14th and 15th June 2016 to discuss the theme of the year “Protecting Children’s Rights, a Call to Action. Children discussed the situation of child protection in the country in line with survival, protection developmental and participation rights. They came up with a brief (position paper) that they presented during the round table press conference on the 16th June to the chief guest who was the then minister for Gender Labour and Social Development and currently Hon. Minister for Public Service; Hon Muluri Mukasa. After an official presentation by the children on the position paper, Hon. Muluri promised to take up the matter with the relevant ministries in ensuring that the plight of children in Uganda is respected. He committed the Ministry Of Gender Labour And Social Development with its stakeholders to ensure that the fundamental rights of the children are up held and that they develop strategies to ensure children participate in breaking the silence on violence against them in their communities and homes.