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Congo: the Parliament and UNICEF advocate for improving the protection of children

Brazzaville, Congo, 22 April 2009–The Parliamentarians and Senators gathered today in Congress to asses the protection of children in Congo, with particular emphasis on the implementation of the recommendations of the Monitoring Committee of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).

They also outlined a timetable for adoption of a new law to protect children in the Congo.

Despite noticeable progress, the Republic of Congo has a very significant number of vulnerable children lacking access to basic social services, victims of violence, abuse, and the worst forms of exploitation.

More than half of all children live in poor families and are exposed to deprivations in health, nutrition, water, sanitation, and education. Indigenous (pygmies) children, approximately 10% of the total population, are marginalized and their rights to survival, development and protection are not respected.

Moreover, the child welfare services are under funded (0.34% of the state budget). This contrast with the significant needs: about 20% of children are not registered at birth.
More than 200,000 children are orphans; with 69,000 as a result of AIDS and over 2/3 do not benefit from any support.   Many children are exposed to sexual violence, trafficking or exploitation, living on the street or are in conflict with the law.   Finally, legislation and regulations are outdated, incomplete or not enforced.

Violations of the right of children to protection constitute a major obstacle to their survival and well-being and the development of the Congo. Given this situation, the Health, Social Affairs, Family and Gender committee in the National Assembly, with UNICEF support, organized a special session of parliament on the protection of the children in Congo, chaired by the Honorable Euloge Landry Kolelas.

Members and Senators met to review the situation analysis of child protection in the Congo.   They were also briefed on the initiatives and strategies to improve their situation and in particular the recommendations of the Monitoring Committee of the CRC, ratified by the Republic of Congo in 1993. They also reviewed the law on child protection currently under review and agreed on a timetable for its adoption.

The Special Session was chaired by Second Vice-President The Honorable Bernard TCHIBAMBELELA in the presence of Madame Emilienne Raoul, Minister of Health, Social Affairs and Family, other government members, representatives of Parliament children, United Nations agencies, the diplomatic corps and civil society.

This special session has enabled parliamentarians to gain a better understanding of the situation of children in Congo and the main problems affecting the realization of their rights.

Parliamentarians have therefore agreed on the importance on updating a legal framework for child protection as soon as possible, as recommended by the Monitoring Committee of the CRC.

For further information, please contact:
Hector Calderon, tel.00 242 578 24 27, email: hcalderon@unicef.org

 

 
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