National Human Rights Commission has called for prosecution of all alleged perpetrators of rape, sexual harassment and sexual abuse and full enforcement of laws banning Female Genital Mutilation and child marriage.

The rights commission call comes as it commemorates the Day of African Child on Wednesday.

“While The Gambia has taken enviable strides to improve the welfare of children through the enactment of legislation and development of child-friendly policies, child health and general child wellbeing, many gaps and challenges remain in child protection, child survival and development, and enjoyment of the rights stipulated in the Children’s Act 2005 and other ratified regional and international child rights instruments.

“Infant mortality, maternal mortality and morbidity, lack of education amongst girls, child abuse and sexual exploitation, including rape and sodomy, sexual harassment, child trafficking, harmful social and cultural practices such as, FGM and child marriage, child begging, child labour and physical abuse remain some of the conditions that continue to blight the lives of Gambian children.

“The laws that protect children against abuse, violence and exploitation, primarily the Children’s Act 2005, Women’s Act 2010, Tourism Offences Act 2003 and the Trafficking in Persons Act 2007, are not adequately enforced or implemented. 

“The NHRC is confident that the Government and stakeholders can do better and more for our children,” the commission said in a statement.

“With emphasis on the latter part of the 2021 theme ‘an Africa fit for children’, the NHRC calls on the Government, as the primary duty bearer, as well as, development partners, civil society, parents and all other stakeholders to reflect on what this means for children in The Gambia in the context of child rights protection and fulfilment for the country we want to hand on to our children,” it added.

Reporting by Adama Makasuba

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