Liberia: Right Holders Network Begins A Nationwide Campaign to Amplify Children Voices Amid the Covid-19 Pandemic
Montserrado – A civil society group, Right Holders Network has begun a nationwide campaign to amplify the voices of children amid the coronavirus pandemic in the country.
Right Holders Network in partnership with the Youth Coalition for Education in Liberia with funding from the Fund for Global Human Rights began the campaign on Thursday, July 23, in Crouzerville, Montserrado County under the theme:” The Voices of Children Matters Amid Covid-19.”
The campaign is intended to amplify the voices of children during the Covid-19 and also identify some of the best practices that should be harnessed by national government.
Speaking during the opening of the campaign, the Chairman of Right Holders Network, Ballah F. Saywala said the campaign is aimed at accessing community approaches in protecting and promoting the rights of children amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.
Saywala added that his organization intends to work with community leaders to develop solutions that provide safe spaces for children’s voices to be heard and to place them at the heart of decision-making process on issues that affect them.
“The closure of schools have worsened the situation because their voices are often silenced by those who they see as the protectors of their rights. Violence, neglects and abuses are all tools used to marginalize children’s voices. Many communities in Liberia have successfully subscribed to this culture.”
“Now is the time for all of us to know that children have the right to their opinion and adults must listen to them,” he said.
Also speaking at the ceremony, the Deputy Commander of the Bensonville Police Detachment, Sergeant Daniel G. Tarpeh applauded the group for the initiative. He said, “It would further empower the citizens to closely relate with the police and share information that can help the police curb SGBV and other forms of child rights violations in the township and by extension the country.”
Sergeant Tarpeh further said the Crouzierville Police Detachment is challenged with manpower.
“The number of police officers in the township of Crouzierville are not more than seven police officers; they should have been 16 officers assigned to the township but many officers abandoned their duties and are all in Monrovia,” he added.
Sergeant Tarpeh also called on the civil society group to work with the police to organize a community policing task force.
He said, this will also help to support the police in protecting and promoting children’s rights by bringing perpetrators of violence, and abuse to justice.
Meanwhile, the Deputy Commissioner of the Township of Crouzierville, Bamakollie Kerkula said residents of the township often feel reluctant to pursue human rights violations due to the distance required to get to the magisterial court.
“We want the government to bring the Magisterial Court closer because it is too far from the township and many persons in the township feel reluctant in pushing their case whenever there is a human right violation.”
Kerkula added: “The office of the Commissioner most often stands in the gap to perform a responsibility that is not part of their statutory functions.”