Protecting Children : Legal Frameworks Under Review

An advocacy meeting to raise awareness on actions to safeguard children victims of violence took place at the National Assembly, on the occasion of the Day of the African Child.

A special plenary session on abuse and violence meted out on children took place yesterday June 16, 2021 at the National Assembly in Yaounde. The session aimed at gracing activities to commemorate the 31st edition of the Day of the African Child in the country on the theme, “protecting every child from violence, exploitation, neglect and abuse: a priority for the Cameroonian government.” 

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Chaired by the First Vice Speaker of the National Assembly, Hilarion Etong, the meeting brought together Parliamentarians, Representative of International Organisations as well as actors of the child protection chain. It was a two-phase event. First, the protocol part and later the technical phase which focused on coming up with recommendations aimed at calling everybody to break the silence and report any violence meted on children, while also creating a better framework that caters for children’s welfare, and ensures that children are free from physical, psychological and mental violence.

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While opening the session, Hon Hilarion Etong said it is indeed sad to note that cases of violence, abuse, maltreatment, neglect and exploitation against children have reached alarming proportions. He lamented that such heinous acts perpetrated against children are usually caused by those who are meant to take care for them. Hilarion Etong reiterated that the special plenary session was not meant only to grasp and understand how children are victims of violence and exploitation, but also to culminate in the adoption of resolutions and recommendations that could lead to the creation of a better framework that caters for children’s welfare.

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Several partners such as the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), Plan International Cameroon and other development partners took to the rostrum to decry violence and abuse on children. It was also an occasion for these partners to highlight their multifaceted support in the search for appropriate solutions to the issues faced by socially vulnerable persons in general, and children in particular. 

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Through the plenary session, different ministerial partners presented problems faced by children and how these issues could be handled. The First Vice Speaker of the National Assembly said resolutions will be drafted later and handed to parliamentarians. At the end, Cameroonians have been urged to break the silence and report any violence that children are subjected to on daily basis. “If people do not shun indifference in handling cases of violence inflicted on children, they are akin to complicity vis-a-vis acts of violence perpetrated against them”, the Vice Speaker underlined.

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