Rights defenders have faulted government for not making the most of local and international treaties to protect and promote children’s rights.
Seven years ago, Parliament enacted the Child Care, Protection and Justice Act (2010) which localises the global Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).
Speaking in Mzuzu at a meeting to popularise the United Nations’ official observation on child rights, Human Rights Consultative Committee (HRCC) chairperson Robert Mkwezalamba attributed the country’s chronic failure to comply with the CRC to low awareness, shortage of resources and lax law enforcement.
He asked: “Law enforcement agencies and courts, what punishments are they meting out to those found violating children’s rights? Do all parents, guardians and community members know what children’s rights are?
“The civil society is trying its best, but we cannot happily say we are doing fine as a nation.”
Mkwezalamba, a member of the NGO Coalition on Child Rights (NGO-CCR), further bemoaned shortage of essential education materials to help children achieve their potential.
Every year, government submits reports on the status of human rights to the UN which releases concluding observations.
According to Save the Children child rights and governance manager Donnex Bengo, the meeting, convened by the international organisation, allowed key players in the Northern Region to speak their mind on the feedback from the UN.
Chief Legal Aid advocate Chimwemwe Chithope Mwale saluted non-governmental organisations (NGOs) for supporting government in safeguarding and promoting rights of children. n