UNICEF strengthens cooperation with Liberian Armed Forces to ensure full realization of children’s rights
Monrovia, Liberia, 21 October 2009 – The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and Liberia’s Ministry of National Defense signed a Memorandum of Understanding to strengthen their cooperation in ensuring that children’s rights are fully respected in the interactions between the military and the population.
"This year marks the twentieth anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and Liberia is on the right track in meeting its commitments," said Isabel Crowley, UNICEF Representative in Liberia.
"The cooperation with the armed forces is one step further in ensuring that all branches of the government fully integrate the principles of the CRC."
As part of the agreement, UNICEF will provide technical experts to support the armed forces.
Military personnel and associated staff will develop capacity to ensure protection and to promote the rights of children, especially of those living in military barracks.
UNICEF will provide support to print sensitization material and other documents to inform the military about children’s issues.
It will also train officers on child protection and ensure that focal points are designated in each barrack.
"The Armed Forces of Liberia are committed to respect the rights of all its citizen, especially children, and by collaborating with UNICEF we want to make sure that all soldiers and officers in the country are aware of their duties and what they need to do to protect children and women," said the Honorable Brownie Samukai, Minister of Defense.
A special component on child protection will now be added to the training of all armed forces.
In addition, the military will also monitor closely the situation of children in its barracks and ensure that all cases of suspected abuse are referred immediately to the relevant care provider.
Liberia ratified the CRC in 1993 and this year it is submitting to the Committee on the CRC its combined second, third and fourth report on the implementation of the convention.
Children and women bore a heavy burden during the 14-year civil war.
For the past six years, Liberia has been at peace and the country has made significant progress in respecting the rights of children and women.
Since 2005, the country has enacted five different pieces of legislation addressing specifically the CRC.
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