Cameroon: MINAS Launches Children’s Month, Says No to Violence & Sexual Abuse

In her key message to launch the 3rd edition of the Cameroonian Month of the Child, Minister Pauline Irene Nguene decried all forms of violence, abuse, and harmful practices affecting the well-being of children.

Minister Pauline Irene NGUENE

Ahead of the celebration of the Day of the African Child come June 16, Cameroon’s Minister of Social Affairs, Pauline Irene Nguene launched the 3rd edition of the Cameroonian Month of the Child. This launch took place on Tuesday 30th of May 2023 in Yaounde during a press briefing co-organized with Plan International Cameroon and UNICEF.

The occasion was well seized by Social Affairs Minister to outline children’s rights and denounce all forms of awful practices to which they are exposed in society.

Pauline Irene Nguene in her introductory statement said Cameroon is firmly positioned as a country of children’s rights.

“In keeping with the policy of social inclusion and justice advocated by the President of the Republic, His Excellency Paul Biya, Cameroon has always made the social protection of children one of the top priorities of its social policy. At government level, this vision from the highest summit of the State is reflected, in the specific case of children, in the solidarity, complementarity, and synergy of dozens of ministerial departments in charge of children and youth issues. In terms of concrete results of this commitment, we can point to Cameroon’s ratification of almost all international legal instruments relating to child protection and the adoption of a national legislative and regulatory framework that is protective and fulfilling for children…” She said.

Stakes of the celebration

The 3rd edition of the Cameroonian Month of the Child which puts down roots for the 33rd edition of the day of the African Child will be observed with a series of activities on the agenda as announced by Minister Nguene Pauline Irene.

The Minister outlined among others: the holding of the first session for the year 2023 of the National Commission for the Protection of Children in moral danger, delinquencies and those abandoned; the organization of discussion forums and other advocacy programs designed and facilitated by children; the commemoration of the day of the African Child in the 10 regions; the organization of the 24th session of the Children’s parliament; organization of fairs and exhibitions, etc.

Social Affairs’ Patroness, Mrs. Nguene Pauline Irene said Cameroon will join the African community to commemorate the 33rd edition of the African Child under the theme: “The Rights of the Child in a digital environment.”

As underscored in her key address, Minister Nguene stressed on the fact that this year’s celebration is a significant opportunity to raise awareness of children’s rights online. This celebration also comes at a moment, voices are raised to denounce the ills of social networks and the internet for children nowadays.

“The aim is to ensure children have safe, secure, healthy, protective, and inclusive access to the digital world…”

One of the multiple stakes of this 3rd edition of the Cameroonian Month of the Child and 33rd edition of the day of the African Child is focused on the Children’s Parliament. This traditional session that gathers 180 children of both sexes and of all categories will hold from the 17th to the 27th of June in Yaounde.

A group photo of 180 Junior MPs trained in 2022 by MINAS & Plan Int’l Cameroon

She added: «To better involve children, who are the main stakeholders in raising awareness on responsible use of digital technology, the 24th session of the Children’s Parliament will be organized from June 17 to 27,2023, under the theme: “Digital literacy: an essential tool for information and the fight against violence and sexual abuse of children online.” This reflection will highlight the benefits of the digital revolution for children, namely access to information and knowledge, as well as the exercise of freedom of expression through the denunciation of dangers incurred.

Minister Nguene Pauline Irene equally commended the support of sectoral administrations, development partners, and civil society organizations in promoting actions that are relevant to the protection and promotion of children’s rights.

She praised the tremendous efforts carried out by Plan International Cameroon, whose full support is felt alongside the government and on the ground.

About the day of the African Child

The Day of the African Child is celebrated every year on June 16 since 1991, when it was first initiated by the Organization of African Unity, OAU, today known as the African Union, AU.

It is a commemoration that honors those innocent children and students who participated in the Soweto uprising and who were killed in 1976.

The commemoration of this day is also an opportunity for African States concerned about the well-being of their children and their future to question the state of implementation of the rights recognized to all children according to the legal instruments in force and to take appropriate measures, if necessary to ensure their further development. The protection of children in all aspects is necessary for their blossoming and growth, for a sustainable development and this remains a permanent concern for the government.

Elise Kenimbeni

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