UN urges approval of child rights bill in Somalia

The United Nations children’s fund (UNICEF), on Friday called on the Somali authorities to approve the Child Rights Bill to better protect children in the country.

UNICEF and the Ministry of Women and Human Rights Development, in a joint statement issued in Mogadishu, vowed to push for the ratification of the Child Rights Bill, which is awaiting approval by the cabinet.

Jesper Moller, UNICEF acting representative in Somalia, said all children in Somalia deserve to fully realise their rights, especially their right to protection and education.

“If children are able to learn, safe from harm, they will gain the skills and knowledge they need to become agents of change and help contribute to creating a peaceful society,’’ Moller said in a statement issued in Mogadishu as the world celebrates the 31st anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).

Once the cabinet approves the bill, it will go to parliament for debate and adoption.

When passed, UNICEF said, it will result in the most comprehensive child-focused legislation in Somali history.

In 2015 Somalia ratified the CRC, which spells out the basic human rights that children should have wherever they live, including their right to develop to the fullest, to education and to be protected from exploitation.

UNICEF said the Child Rights Bill demonstrates the commitment of the government to ensure the articles under the CRC are upheld.

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