New UN-backed plan aims to enhance child rights in Republic of Congo

A woman and child in the Republic of Congo

1 July 2010 – The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has welcomed new measures announced by the Republic of Congo to boost child protection, calling them a major breakthrough for the Central African nation.

President Denis Sassou Nguesso announced the new child protection framework during recent celebrations to mark the Day of the African Child, making Congo the fifth French-speaking African nation to pass such measures.

“This framework will better monitor the violation of children’s rights abuses and help to improve the situation to build a protective environment for children,” said Marianne Flach, UNICEF Representative in Congo.

“It is a major breakthrough that opens new perspectives in the protection and realization of children’s rights in Congo,” Ms. Flach stated in a news release.

The framework is comprised of a collection of texts covering all aspects of child protection, including issues concerning children in conflict with the law.

Congo is a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which articulates a set of universal children’s rights including the right to an identity, a name and a nationality, the right to an education, and rights to the highest possible standards of health and protection from abuse and exploitation.

It has also signed on to the two Optional Protocols to the Convention – on the involvement of children in armed conflict, and on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography – and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child.

UNICEF noted that the country’s legislation will need to be updated and harmonized with the new measures and that national efforts will need more funding and support.

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