The National Human Rights Commission has urged the 11 northern states of the federation that had yet to domesticate the Child’s Rights Act (CRA) to quickly do so.
The Executive Secretary of the commission, Mr. Tony Ojukwu, stated that the passage of the law by the states could help to address the problems associated with Almajiri.
Ojukwu made the call in a statement in Abuja to mark the 2020 Children‘s Day celebration marked every May 27 in Nigeria.
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“Children must be reunited with their parents and provisions made for their education in a structured and progressive manner as stipulated in the Child Rights Act.
“NHRC strongly believes that the passage of the Child Rights Act by all state governments will go a long way in strengthening the capacity of Nigeria to build a better world for our children.
“As the world grapples with the challenges of COVID -19, children as vulnerable groups are facing growing risks.
“They need to be safe, many children are facing disorientation due to closure of schools, disrupted academic schedule, and limited recreational activities basic to their survival and development.
“This Day offers us an inspirational motivation to advocate, promote, protect, and celebrate children’s rights and translate into action our love for our children.
“We must do this as a matter of necessity not only for the children but for the future of humanity.
“The CRA is an important document to protect the human rights of the Nigerian child,” he said.
As of today, he said, only 25 out of the 36 states have passed the CRA into law in their various states.
“The situation leaves a huge gap in our collective efforts to protect our children,” he said.
He, therefore, called on all states that have not passed the CRA to do so without further delay.
Ojukwu added that children encounter domestic violence, sexual exploitation, torture, Inhuman and degrading treatment, and other forms of abuse.
He called on parents to take extra care of the children, help them stay socially connected with friends and family within their circle.
He said further that parents should support the children with information about COVID -19, teach them especially basic hygiene.
Ojukwu stated that the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child ( CRC),1989 is a legally binding international agreement covering a variety of rights including, civil, political, economic, social, cultural, and health rights of every child.
He stated that Nigeria ratified this in 1991 and domesticated it in the Child Rights Act of 2003 (CRA) as a measure of her commitment to the principle of UNCRC.
The CRA, he added, strengthens the human rights provisions in Chapter 1V of the 1999 constitution as amended with regards to children.
He said specific rights of children under the Act include the right to survival, protection, family life, a name, private life, dignity, recreation, cultural activities, health, and education.
The Act, he added, provides that in all matters concerning the child, the child’s best interest takes precedent.
Ojukwu stated that the CRC is one of the most ratified human rights treaties in history and had assisted in the transformation of the lives of children all over the world.
“Let us commit ourselves to build a society where the rights of children remain paramount” he stated.