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UNICEF welcomes the enactment of the Child Care, Protection and Justice Bill

LILONGWE, 5 July 2010 – Parliament last week passed a landmark bill that will transform the way that children are protected in Malawi. The Child Care, Protection and Justice Act is a comprehensive law that brings together all child care and protection issues into one law and conforms Malawi’s child protection laws with the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).

UNICEF takes this opportunity to congratulate Honourable Members of Parliament for passing this watershed law. We followed the debate of the bill very closely and were pleased that the Honourable members fully recognized the need to strengthen the child protection environment in Malawi with a more robust legal framework. Having worked very closely with the Government to draft the bill, we are delighted to see all of our efforts and those of our partners in the civil society finally come to fruition.

While no law is perfect, and some concerns with this law were articulated by the Honourable Members during debate, we believe that its enactment represents a huge step forward for the children of Malawi. We are especially pleased that we now have a specific law that criminalizes child labour, child abduction, child trafficking, child sexual abuse, and harmful cultural practices.

We recognize that passing the law is only the first step and a lot more work needs to be done to ensure that children are protected. Over the coming months, UNICEF will work with the Government to fast-track the process of writing subsidiary regulations, developing a costed implementation plan, and helping to strengthen the capacity of the Ministry of Gender, Child Development and Community Services to implement and monitor the law.
Carrie Auer,
Representative

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