Child Abuse Cases Suffers Setback in Liberia – Child Advocacy Group
Monrovia – A local child advocy group in Liberia, Defense for Children International, DCI, says 703 child rights cases are still on the docket of Liberia’s judicial system.
Report by Willie N. Tokpah – [email protected]
DCI is calling for the adjudication of these cases after terming the delay as serious concern.
These cases, accroding to DCI Executive Director Atty. Foday Kawah range from rape, child abuse and ritualistic activities against children.
In a FrontPageAfrica interview Tuesday, Kawah said most of these cases are delay by those concern with the matter which create difficulties for the Ministry of Justice to fasttrack the process.
He named the refusal of some witnesses to testify in court and compromised cases by parties involved as two of the many factors hampering trial of rape cases in Liberia.
He also expressed concern over the delays in conducting autopsy in the country.
“The lack of Pathologist in Liberia and equipment to conduct DNA test are some other conditions that are creating difficulties for inquiry into cases of children who are victimized by ritualistic activities. “
“We don’t have the scientific gatheing process like in the west,” said Kawah, nothing that it will be a serious concern as the country heads to the 2017 election process.
The DCI boss called for a more roburst approach to mitigate some of the many challenges impeding child rights and advocacy group.
Atty. Kawah says the organization remains vigorous in avocating for the rights of children especially the vulnerable ones in communities across Liberia.
According to Kawah, pressure had been mounted on the Ministry of justice to fasttrack cases involved with children in bringing perpetrators to justice.
“We seek to promote a peaceful and cohesive environment aimed at fostering advocacy for child survivor, participation and development in the best interest of the child,” he said.
Kawah said such approach will enhanced non-discrimination, access to justice and rehabilitation of children in conflict and contact with the laws.
He also frowned on the prolifiration of children used by parents as bread winners, especially those who are selling along the streets of Monrovia which he termed as abuse of their rights and child labor.
He said it is a risk for children to roam the streets of Monrovai in the name of selling during the period of election because there will be several vehicles plying the streets.
“We are trying to develop a national child protection policy framework at the Ministry of Gender Social and Child Protection and this framework will determine which age group of children will sell for their parents because we understand the economic constraint in Liberia.
There are policy already in place denying people from buying from children selling on the street,” he said.
At the same time, Kawah says DCI will prevail on government in ensuring that some international protocols on the protection of the rights of the child are seriously considered.
He wants governemnt keep its promise to uphold two international conventions which are the United Nation Convention on the Rights of the Child and the African Chapter on the Welfare and Rights of the Child.
These conventions supports the protection of children’s rights.
“It is our resposibilities as watchdogs, as child rights institutions to remind government of it promise and mind you, as a leader on the Liberian chapter, I will make sure that Liberia comply to these laws through the child protection network,” the DCI Executive Director said.
Meanwhile, Kawah said despite the delay in trial of cases of child rights violations, there are some gains made by his child rights advocacy group in addressing incidents of child abuse in Liberia and he wants the public coorperation in addressing these social vices.