Day of the African Child - 30 years after the adoption of the Charter: Accelerate Implementation of Agenda 2040 for an Africa Fit for Children

Statement attributable to Dr. Munir Safieldin, UNICEF Uganda Representative in Uganda

28 June 2021
children's rights, child rights, Uganda, boy, girl, convention on the rights of the child, Uganda progress report
UNICEF Uganda/2021/Abdul

On 17 August 1994, Uganda ratified the African Charter, committing to protecting and promoting the realization of children’s rights. Since then, Uganda is a much better place for children to live and thrive.

It has been 30 years since the adoption of the African Charter, and 27 years since Uganda’s endorsement. Join me in celebrating the gains we have collectively registered for the children in Uganda and renew our commitments towards addressing the numerous challenges that they continue to face as they strive to realize their full potential. 

Sadly, today we celebrate the Day of the African Child when the global COVID-19 pandemic is posing additional challenges for children, denying them opportunities to enjoy their rights to the fullest. 

The theme this year - “30 years after the adoption of the Charter: Accelerate Implementation of Agenda 2040 for an Africa Fit for Children” is very timely.

A lot has been done to create a Uganda fit for children – from policy formulation to delivering programmes for the children. But more needs to be done and today more than ever, we need to move faster especially in regard to implementation to improve the lives of children in Uganda.

Allow me to thank the Government of Uganda and all partners for their contributions towards fulfilling the aspirations of Africa’s Agenda 2040. As a result of your efforts, today we celebrate progress against all the ten aspirations but commit to do more. 

Unfortunately, we cannot ignore the glaring impact COVID-19 pandemic has had on children. The pandemic, a child rights crisis, continues to expose children to numerous challenges while threatening to undo the gains we have made for the children against the Charter aspirations in the past 30 years.

Children remain out of school and behind on their education dreams, the number of children receiving routine vaccinations against killer diseases like polio, measles continues to dwindle since as delivery of health services has been affected by the pandemic, while many children continue to live in fear and anxiety about their future. 

As we embark on the next journey, post 30 years of the Charter, UNICEF pledges to complement Government efforts in delivering high quality health, education, and protection services to benefit all children in Uganda, including support towards its efforts to controlling the deadly COVID-19 pandemic to subsequently end it. 

As I conclude, I wish to thank all the children who have participated physically and virtually in today’s events and the Children’s Parliament held on Monday. Your voices have been heard and as UNICEF, we will continue to work with the government and other partners to provide you with a platform to engage and have your issues amplified for action.

Through our programmes, we pledge to work with the Government to ensure all children in Uganda, not matter who they are and where they are enjoy their basic rights.

To the partners, as we maneuver through these unprecedented times, let us focus all our efforts towards reimagining and rebuilding an even better Uganda for children post COVID-19, where all children enjoy all rights.

I thank you.

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