National Children and Youth Advisory Board (NCYAB) of Liberia with support for Defence for Children Liberia on June 19, 2019, celebrated the Day of the African Child.
This year’s observance of the Day of the Child African was held under the global theme, “Humanitarian Action in Africa: Children’s Rights First,” with the national theme, “Children’s Fights are Human Rights–Liberia is no Exception; let’s Take Action.”
DCI is an active Non-governmental organization since June 2009 that is run by a group of committed and dedicated Liberians who are concerned about the deplorable situation faced by children in conflict with the law in the criminal justice system.
The event held at the Monrovia Christian fellowship center in Sinkor brought together over 50 children from Bomi and Montserrado counties.
Ambassador Abraham Keita, in his keynote address, told the gathering that the story of the African Child indicates that there were lots of injustices against the right of children before the current day.
Keita said children across Liberia need to stand up against child labor, rape, and right violation to ensure every child have equal rights and access to justice.
He said from January to December, the number of rape cases have increased with victims not receiving justice, something he said is not good for a democratic country like Liberia.
“As we stand for our rights, the road will get tough but we need to stand tall and become loyal to our conscious by doing the right thing,” Keita said.
Rebels killed Keita’s father when he was just five and was reared by his mother. He began his advocacy for children at the tender age 9 with no clue of what his efforts would have yielded.
Keita said that winning the 2015 International Children’s Peace Prize award had never crossed his mind, but he is exceedingly grateful that such an honor was bestowed upon him.
Keita said “I am a victim of child labor. I sold plastic and other commodities down waterside until I took the courage to make my mother understand that selling plastic was not good for my future in a respectful manner which she understood and never allow me to get in the streets to sell.”
Mr. Foday M. Kawah, Director, DCI-Liberia said the institution is celebrating the Day of African child in a different form because they respect children participation.
Mr. Kawah said DCI-Liberia is celebrating this day to raise awareness on child rights violation and create a platform for them to express their views and give ideas on issues affecting them.
The Day of the African child is an annual celebration which gives children across the continent the opportunity to reflect on progress towards health, education, equality and protection for all African children.
The event was observed on Sunday, June 16. This day has been celebrated every year since 1991 when the then Organization of African Unity (OAU, now African Union, AU) first declared the day to honor those, who participated in the Soweto Uprising in 1976 in South Africa.
About 575 people died during a student uprising, but 451 of the dead were recorded as a result of direct police action, while some 2,387 people sustained severe injuries.