5 May 2008

Liberia: 438 Cases of Child Violation Reported

Monrovia — The National Child Rights Observatory Group (NACROG) over the weekend released its annual situational report in which, 438 cases of child rights violations were documented.

Briefing the press at the Ministry of Gender, NACROG's Officer-In-Charge, Senyon Kieh, explained that some of the cases recorded in the report include rape, abandonment, neglect, illegal detention and adoption, torture, child trafficking and ritualistic killing, among others.

According to Mr. kieh, from their findings, it is clear that a comprehensive response is required to fully address the issue of child rights violations in Liberia and set the national agenda for the protection, participation, development and survival of children.

In the report, which covers the period from January 2007-December 2007, NACROG says it discovered that several unauthorized, but functional orphanages are operating in the country in the name of "goodwill, concern and care".

Although he didn't name those involved but he indicated that in most instances, authorities from these orphanages would go from one village to the next, particularly in the rural areas and separate children from their families, with fake promises and identify the children as orphans for their selfish gains.

NACROG also indicated that 90% of children involved in child labor in the country derive from foster parents who take advantage of these children for profit-making and even deny them schooling; instead, they use them to sell and perform other household chores.

NACROG is therefore recommending to the Liberian Government and her implementing partners to coordinate and develop programs that would address the plight of abandoned and neglected children by introducing tougher laws to deter would-be perpetrators of the crime.

NACROG, among several other things stressed the need for the government and its partners, along with Child Welfare institutions to put serious emphasis on programs that would address in a holistic and realistic way, the plight of street children to protect the future of Liberia.

Mr. Kieh, on behalf of NACROG thanked the Ministry of Gender & Development, UNICEF-Liberia, the Child protection Network of Liberia, Child Protection Agencies, Civil Society Organizations, Human Rights Organization and the public for the level of support and assistance they rendered to ensure that the report was compiled, "together, we can make Liberia a better place for children, thus securing a future for posterity."

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