We will not stay silent: young voices lead the #CRC30 Conversation

Children take center stage and discuss pertinent issues

UNICEF Botswana Communications
Children's Panel at #CRC30
UNICEF Botswana/2019
20 November 2019

Children were determined not only to be seen but be heard at the 30th-anniversary celebration of the Convention on the Rights of the Child where they took the center stage.
Speaking at the commemoration, 16-year old, Amantle Moshashane implored parents to accept that they are living in a very different era now and need to consider engaging children when they make decisions that concern them. “This does not mean that we want to take away your responsibility, but we want our views to be taken into consideration when making decisions that affect us,” she said.

Children further decried the deplorable quality of education and called on government to ensure that students grasp basic concepts before being promoted to the next standard. They also called on stakeholders to provide guidance to their parents on dealing with complex issues surrounding HIV and sexual exploitation. “Our parents never talk to us about HIV or sexual abuse, they would rather protect the family name over a child who was abused,” said the President of the Children’s Parliament, Ms Lone Tshubang. Children further called on adults to ensure that children with special needs and disabilities are catered for at schools and in the community.

When welcoming the children to the commemoration, Director of Social Protection, Mr. Hamilton Mogatusi, emphasized the importance of investing in Batswana children as they make up 46% of the population and thus present a dividend that must be leveraged on. This was a sentiment the panel of four children representing various demographics emphasized in their candid discussion, which was moderated by a member of CEO Council for Children’s Rights, Ms Lulu Rasebotsa.

The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development Mr. Boipolelo Mr Khumomatlhare committed to responding to the issues that the children highlighted. The Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development is the custodian of the Children’s Act of 2009.

Furthermore, UNICEF Representative, Ms. Julianna Lindsey pointed out that while it was a commemoration, the objective was “not to revel in the achievements of the past, which are indeed admirable, but to understand the challenges our children face today and those they are likely to face in the future”. All stakeholders responsible for children’s welfare in Botswana were urged to collaborate in designing a better environment where children can thrive. This, includes creating platforms that promote children’s rights in Botswana and give them a safe space to speak and engage in decision and policy making processes.

The event was attended by children, senior government officials, heads of civil society organizations and private sector.