African Child Day 2022: Social Affairs’ Minister Highlights Harmful Practices Affecting Children

Minister Pauline Irene Nguene was speaking in Yaounde, Cameroon in line with the commemoration of the 32nd edition of the African Child’s day on June 16, 2022.

As of tradition, Cameroon joined the international community to observe the African child day which takes place every 16th of June of the year.

The African child day which appears to be a day of reflection on the progress made towards children’s rights, as well as barriers they keep facing, is of great importance to Cameroon.

The ministry of social affairs as usual launches series of activities which culminate with a colourful celebration or a public declaration highlighting key advocacy messages.

On the occasion of the celebration of the African child day this year, 32nd edition of its kind, Social affairs’ Minister, Pauline Irene Nguene made a declaration to the press.

The declaration which underscored several pertinent issues laid emphasis on the theme of the 2022 edition being: “Elimination of harmful practices affecting children: Progress on policy and practices since 2013”.

Pauline Irene Nguene said despite the fact thatthe world is recalling the massacre of hundreds of children by the Apartheid Regime in force in Soweto, South Africa on June 16, as these children were claiming for one of their simple but capital rights; the right to quality education!

According to the Boss of the ministry of social affairs, the commemoration of this day is of prime importance for advocacy actions. It is a crucial moment to underscore government’s actions and that of civil society organizations is pushing the fight for the rights of children, both girls and boys.

In her declaration, she pointed-out some malicious practices that affect the well-being of children and notably the girlchild who is exposed to some socio-cultural beliefs.

The Minister of social affairs outlined the harmful impact of some practices with socio-cultural connotation can have on the development and well-being of any child

“No matter the point of view, some socio-cultural practices stand as danger for the harmonious development and fulfilment of the Child. For illustration:  Early and premature marriages: The fragile body is submitted to the harsh reality of the life of housewife, the exigency of maternity and the pressure of community life. All these can affect the person physically, physiologically or psychologically; – Child labour: Also included are the worst forms of child labour. – Violences: These come in various shades: physical, psychological or moral scars…” Minister Nguene indicated.

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The occasion as usual was also well seized to coin-out the responsibilities of children themselves. She castigated several ills and called on children to say No to some issues that could affect and destabilize their lives.

She said: “At this moment where you are being celebrated everywhere in the continent, your responsibility remains not to expose yourselves or to endeavour to escape from the different forms of harmful practices that may affect all your existence. It is in this light that I ask you to learn to say NO! NO to be lured to easy success; NO to the appeals of social networks with unknown contents; NO to keep bad companies; NO to use violence as the only solution to handle problems; NO to blind embrace of imported and imposed models from abroad.”

Minister Nguene insisted on the fact that: “The promotion and protection of the rights of the Child remain as such a long term manoeuvre, that involves the entire social welfare corps and that does not allow us to rest on our laurels, however bright they maybe.”

Officials of the ministry of social affairs

“Loyal to the inclusion and social justice policy so dear to the President of the Republic, His Excellency Paul BIYA, Cameroon has always placed the social protection of the Child as a major priority of its social policy by ratifying the quasi-totality of legal instruments related to it and also by putting in place an appreciable legal, institutional and strategic framework.” She added.

Elise Kenimbeni

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