Civil Society Forum on Child Rights meets to explore and coordinate advocacy efforts in Mozambique
MAPUTO, Mozambique, 7 April 2011 – At a national workshop held at Hotel VIP on 5 April, the Civil Society Forum on Child Rights (known as ROSC), a UNICEF-supported mechanism, which also receives technical support from FDC and Save the Children, explored advocacy issues and exchanged information on the participation of civil society in fulfilling the recommendations of the UN Committee on Child Rights. More than hundred representatives of government, civil society organizations, international organizations, academia, donors and private sector partners attended the workshop.
During the meeting, organizations working for and with children identified priority areas that will become the focus of civil society advocacy efforts for the effective implementation of the child rights agenda, reinforcing the strong commitment of everyone involved to the realization of children’s rights.
In the course of the meeting, working groups formed that will meet on a regular basis to analyze the progress and constraints encountered by partners in the implementation of the recommendations for children’s access to information; state budget allocations (in favor of children); child rights and freedom; and early childhood development. Focusing on these critical areas, civil society organizations will contribute more effectively to the implementation of the child rights agenda.
All panelists were unanimous in thinking that children’s issues in Mozambique require the concerted efforts of everyone, from government to civil society to families and individuals.
“In addition to approving legislation related to children, a wide dissemination and education campaign is required if the laws are to really make a difference in children’s lives,” said Dr. Antonio Francisco, lecturer at Eduardo Mondlane University (UEM), on the topic of child rights legislation.
He was seconded by Dr. Aires de Amaral, a researcher also from UEM, who went even further. “Ninety percent of the students who graduate from the faculty of law have very limited knowledge of the acts related to children, not to mention the Convection on the Rights of the Child. If the ‘doctors’ of law do not have this knowledge, what can we then expect from the police and community judges?”
The issue of child registration also received attention and raised concern among the workshop participants, who expressed the view that more was expected from the Government in this area.
“The government says there is no money, and no human resources, for the registration of children, but at the same time it spends huge amounts to register people to participate in elections, and this is a paradox,” said Dr. Antonio Francisco.
In her closing remarks, the National Director of Women and Social Action, Dr. Francisca Sales, spoke of the need for Civil Sector Organizations and others to reinforce the integration and coordination of their work with the government on issues related to children. According to the National Director, the ROSC is a great example of how things can be done and a reflection of what the civil society movement in the country should look like: with a focus on coordination, open dialogue and a common vision for the betterment of children’s lives.
For more information, please contact:
Arild Drivdal, UNICEF Mozambique, tel. (+258) 21 481 100; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Gabriel Pereira, UNICEF Mozambique, tel. (+258) 21 481 100; email: email@example.com