Civil society organisations (CSOs) under the Non-Governmental Organisations Coalition on Child Rights (NGO-CCR) have asked authorities to regularly submit child rights reports to the African Union (AU) and the United Nations (UN).
The CSOs, which advocate for children’s rights, said they were surprised that Malawi is yet to submit the recent report whose final draft was concluded earlier this year before the UN June meeting.
According to NGO-CCR, government has never submitted any report on child rights situation in the country to the AU and only submitted two reports to the UN since 1991.
NGO-CCR chairperson Desmond Mhango, speaking during a press briefing the organisation held in Lilongwe on Monday, said the coalition is currently working on an alternative report to be submitted to the two organisations.
He said: “It does not give a good picture for a country to fail to report three or four times to such organisations as AU and UN. It does not show that Malawi is interested in the welfare of children. That is a very big challenge for our country.”
Mhango said both the AU and the UN have since asked Malawi to submit a comprehensive report on child rights after missing out on the UN Child Convention in June this year and other meetings.
Executive director of the Centre for Youth Empowerment and Civic Education (Cyece) Lucky Mbewe said the delay makes it difficult for child rights issues such as child marriages to be resolved.
“What we want is for government to be clear on the status of the report. Where are we now? We also want to see whether what has been written is the true reflection of what is on the ground,” he said.
Among other things, the report contains status of child labour, child trafficking, child marriages and other issues that affect children in the country.
Director of social welfare in the Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare Willard Manjolo yesterday said the child rights reports have not been submitted to the AU and UN because of poor coordination between the government and the civil society.
“There were problems with the system where NGOs were providing information on child issues to the government. But there is good cooperation now. Thus, we expect things to improve,” said Manjolo.
Established in 2010, NGO-CCR which has over eight CSO networks, wants to strengthen the role of civil society in the promotion and protection of child rights in Malawi.