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Somalia begins child rights bill drafting process

Friday November 17, 2017

Somalia and the UN children's fund (UNICEF) on Thursday launched the drafting process of its Child Rights Bill as part of its efforts to strengthen the rights of children in the Horn of Africa nation.

The Child Rights Bill, once approved, will be the foundation for the promotion and protection of all child rights in the country following the ratification by the country of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in October 2015.

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Somalia's Minister of Women and Human Rights Development, Deqa Yasin Hagi Yusuf, and UNICEF's Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) Leila Pakkala who launched the process in Somali capital Mogadishu said the move is a gesture that the ministry strongly believes will guarantee a better future for Somali children.

"The launch of the drafting process of this comprehensive children's law today shows the determination of the government to ensure the Articles in the CRC become a reality in Somalia," Yusuf said in a statement issued after the launch.

"Children here have been seriously affected by armed conflict, drought and many other challenges. We should now focus on guaranteeing their future by strengthening the legal framework which will enable them to enjoy their rights, including the right to development, education, and protection among others," she said.

The ministry is partnering with UNICEF and Somali civil society organizations in the drafting process and expects wide ranging contributions from Somali society.

Pakkala said every child in Somalia is entitled, as are all children worldwide, to fully realize their rights.

"We trust that the Child Rights Bill will provide the legal foundation to effectively promote and protect all child rights in Somalia, including those of the most marginalized," Pakkala added.

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