A student activist has called on governments around the world to step up their action against all forms of child abuse.
Mr. Martin Kollie made the call last weekend during the observance of the 27th anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).
It was organized by the National Children and Youth Advisory Board of Liberia (NCYAB) with support from Defense for Children International.
Serving as the event’s keynote speaker, Kollie said it is now time for world leaders to reconsolidate their efforts and redesign robust strategies to guarantee the ultimate survival, development, protection and participation of every child.
“When they (world leaders) do not act to prevent children from teenage pregnancy, forced marriage, child labor, child prostitution, sexual exploitation and female genital mutilation, they defeat the actual purpose of November 20,” he said.
Mr. Kollie, who is student at the University of Liberia, said there should be a vigorous campaign to reduce violence against children through a concrete pro-children agenda.
He said families, parents, communities, schools, religious and civil society organizations have an essential role to play in ending violence against women also.
“They must collaborate with the state in order to curb awful acts confronting children. If all of us take responsibility to protect the rights of every child, a future of unhindered prosperity would be an undeniable reality globally.
“If each of us could contribute to a child’s education in whatever little way, the rate of global illiteracy could reduce sharply in the next 15 years,” he said.
Mr. Kollie said “Today, wherever you are, I crave your indulgence to do something positive and rewarding to rescue a child from poverty and violence. Together, we can make the dream of millions of hopeless children come alive.”
According to him, even in the midst of despair, “We can defeat the most difficult odds that continue to hinder the proper growth and development of children worldwide. We must not allow teenage pregnancy, forced marriage and child prostitution to win us at the battlefield.”
He told the gathering that it is time to refill their ammunitions with sophisticated bullets in order to gun down rape and all forms of sexual violence against children.
“Today, the world is besieged by evil geniuses who see children as beasts of burden or inanimate creatures.
“We must prove them wrong by standing in the gap and advancing the best interest of every child. We must advocate against ancient practices that undermine the dignity of children. We cannot overemphasize the need to strengthen and enforce existing laws that protect the rights of every child,” Kollie said.
The student activist also suggested to governments to support NGOs, INGOs, CSOs and CBOs that continue to promote the welfare of children.
He said “if they fail to stand up for children, then it means that celebrating this day every year will be useless. Even though some gains have been made in specific areas of protecting the rights of children, more needs to be done in order to make the world free of child abuse and exploitation.”
He noted that the world is yet to find a more concrete and sustainable cure for child labor, forced marriage, teenage pregnancy, rape, sexual harassment, infant mortality, child prostitution, sex trafficking, kidnapping, child pornography, neglect and the forceful recruitment of children as soldiers.
He further explained that after 27 years since the adoption of the CRC by the United Nations in November 1989, millions of children worldwide are still entrapped and confronted by these painful realities and visible cruelties.
Therefore, as student activists “We must rescue our children from destroying themselves in such manner. The government has a leading role to play. But too often corruption and fiscal indiscipline in public service are challenging factors to our collective fight against harsh realities.”
Meanwhile, the program also held a debate competition among schools, including Len Millar, Calvary Baptist, Tubman High and Apostolic Foundation.
Calvary Baptist defeated Len Millar 80-78 points in the final on the topic “Should Liberia officially celebrate the UNCRC?”