Swedish Gov’t Provides Critical Support to Child Protection in Liberia

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Ambassador of Sweden to Liberia, Ingrid Wetterqvist

The Government of Sweden has contributed 10 million Swedish Kronor to UNICEF’s Child Protection programs to support the provision of quality essential social services for children in Liberia.

The Swedish support will enable children, adolescents, and young people, especially the most vulnerable, to access gender-sensitive and age-appropriate justice and empowered protection systems that contribute to the realization of their rights.

“The Government of Sweden has been a committed UNICEF partner in providing support to vulnerable children and their families in Liberia, especially in the birth registration, Justice, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence programs,” said Laila O. Gad, UNICEF Representative to Liberia. “Our work in 2020 is based on the excellent collaboration and success in achieving results and making an impact on the lives of children in the country.”

The programs of UNICEF and partners in Liberia are catalytical to ensure the provision of basic services for children and their families and promoting the rights and wellbeing of every child in alignment with as per the joint plans with the Government of Liberia.

In the context of COVID-19, UNICEF and partners work closely to prevent the spread of the virus which can expose children to numerous protection risks. “Children have the right to protection from violence, the right to education, and the right to benefit from social security. Unfortunately, we have seen worrying statistics of increased child abuse in Liberia.

Sweden is committed to protecting the rights of the children and has therefore gone into partnership with UNICEF. Not only does Sweden support UNICEF in Liberia, but Sweden also provides unearmarked funding to UNICEFs important work globally for the protection of children’s rights.

“We are proud to support the work UNICEF is doing to protect children and make sure children can have their childhood free from violence and abuse,” says Ingrid Wetterqvist, Ambassador of Sweden to Liberia.

UNICEF programs funded by the Government of Sweden in Liberia contribute to improved child-friendly justice services for children in contact with the law and support strengthening the birth registration system. In the context of COVID-19, UNICEF and partners will work closely to suppress the spread of the virus and address its impact on children and their families.

The following key achievements were made in 2019 for the protection and well-being of children and women in Liberia through funding from the Government of Sweden: Children encounter the justice system as victims, witnesses because they are in conflict with the law or as parties to a justice process, such as in custody arrangements. In 2019, at least 87 percent of children in contact with the law, 930 children (289 child victims/witnesses, and 641 children in conflict with the law) received child-friendly justice services through the programs implemented by UNICEF and partners with funds from the Government of Sweden.

In 2019, an increased number of victims of violence continues to receive a multi-sectorial response which is the key result in addressing violence against children, where at least 3,264 children (2,556 girls and 708 boys) victims of violence received support from 80 social workers in all 15 counties.

This was due to the continued child protection system strengthening approach as the overarching framework in addressing violence against children. This included technical and operational support provided to social workers, the key statutory service providers providing case management follow up; a holistic child, and gender-sensitive response in addressing the increased caseload of girl victims of SGBV. Birth registration establishes a legal record of where the child was born and who his or her parents are.

Birth registration is required for a child to get a birth certificate – his or her first legal proof of identity. Not only is birth registration a fundamental human right, but it also helps ensure that children’s other rights are upheld – like the rights to protection from violence, and essential social services like health care and justice.

Thirty percent of children under 1 year of age had their birth registered and were issued birth certificates in 2019, which equates to approximately 32,800 children, representing a rise of 16 percentage points from 19 percent in 2013. In total, approximately 112,200 children under 13 were registered and obtained birth certificates in 2019, which is the second-highest annual achievement since 2007 and a fourfold increase compared to 2018 year-end figures.

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