The Liberia Children Parliament, commonly known as the Children Representatives Forum has called on government to protect children across the country from danger and unexpected situations.
“We strongly believe that it is the responsibility of the government through the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection to ensure children stay off the streets during, and after school hours”, the Forum said.
Addressing a news conference on Tuesday, 6 December at its head office on Capitol Bye-pass, the Speaker of the Children Representatives Forum Satta F. Sheriff said while government has full responsibility to protect children, parents also have a primary duty to ensuring protection of their children as stated in Article 4, Section 1-1.4 of the Liberian Children Law.
Miss Sheriff said it is also the responsibility of national government to enforce all articles of the children law, saying over the years, the number of children selling and marauding the streets has drastically increased from hundreds to thousands.
She added that children have become breadwinners, many of them teenagers, risking their lives between moving cars in the streets to sell petty commodities. “We have lost too many children in 2016 and we are afraid to lose more as the result of this act” she said.
“We want to use this medium to call on all parents to see as critical, crucial, and as important the protection, and safety of their children, because we will continue to advocate, and ensure children’s rights are protected. But we need the support of every parent to safeguard their children.”
“Our decision to call on government is against the backdrops that on December 2, 2016 two Liberian children were accidently killed by the presidential convoy in Gbarbo community on the Robertsfield highway. The Liberian children regret this timely death of Jackson Kordah and Melvin Turkey”, Miss sheriff said.
The children speaker pointed out that the death of the two kids shocked, and broke the hearts of executives of the Liberia Children Parliament. “We believe if Melvin and Jackson could live to see the future, they could have rescued Liberia from the state of poverty, and economic sabotage, but they were innocently and carelessly killed.”
Meanwhile, Speaker Sheriff has stressed that the impartial enforcement of the Liberian Children Law, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of a Child, the African Chapter on the Rights, and Welfare of a child, and other international protocols are vital to protecting and safeguarding children.
By Lewis S. Teh-Editing by Jonathan Browne