Marrakech — Local governments in Morocco have a great role to play in the implementation of public strategies and laws in the field of the protection of children's rights, said Tuesday in Marrakech, Minister of Family, Solidarity, Equality and Social Development, Bassima Hakkaoui.
Speaking at a workshop under the theme "Mobilization for the Cities Without Children on the Streets campaign" as part of the 8th Africities Summit, Hakkaoui noted that the government has devised the legal framework and provided the means for local governments to promote the rights of children.
Hakaoui, who pointed out that issues relating to poor children matter to the whole of society, presented the integrated governmental programs and strategies, including the Cities Without Street Children Program and the National Plan of the Children's Rights, which require the implication of all the components of the government, notably the civil society.
President of the Network of Local Elected Women of Africa (REFELA)-Morocco and Secretary of State for Housing, Fatna Lkhiyel, said that some 30 million African children, the number of an entire country, are subject to the dangers of streets, the risks of violence of all kinds, the lack of protection.
On this occasion, Lkhiyel paid tribute to all those who (foundations, associations, educators, animators) "patrol the streets, help and give a second chance to street children".
Concerning Morocco, she said that the Kingdom has ratified all the conventions on children's rights that it has constitutionalized and has adopted a national strategy for the protection of children for 2015-2025 and a National Observatory for the Rights of Children (ONDE).
"Morocco has undertaken all these initiatives by involving a wide range of international and national stakeholders, notably civil society, which play a key role in this area", she underlined.
The different and diverse initiatives need to be recognized and the stakeholders who carry them need to be encouraged, she added.
ONDE Executive Director, Lamia Bazir, presented the missions of this national institution, calling for putting youth and children issues at the heart of local government agendas in order to eradicate this scourge and to develop inclusive and integrated African cities.
REFELA President Mamou Samba stressed that Africa's future depends on the education, training and socio-professional integration of its youth, stating that every street child should be perceived as a failure of his family and the public policies of his country.
For his part, the mayor of Rabat, Mohamed Sadiki, noted his commitment to make the issue of the eradication of the scourge of street children a concrete reality, affirming the need to amend the law to force families to register their children in schools until the age of 16, when they will be able to start socio-professional training.
During this workshop, Director of the Department of Children, Families and Old Persons in the Ministry of Family, Solidarity, Equality and Social Development, Mohamed Khalil Diouri, highlighted Morocco's progress in the area of protection and promotion of children's rights as well as the integrated public policy of child protection and its national implementation program.
Sandra Ceciarini, a consultant to the United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG Africa), subsequently presented the report on the situation of street children in Africa, noting that the continent's environment is currently conducive to an awareness of children's rights.
However, she noted a gap between "de jure" reality and "de facto" reality.
The floor was then given to ONDE's children parliamentarians and children from other African countries invited to this summit to share their concerns, expectations and aspirations.
Held under the High Patronage of HM King Mohammed VI, the 8th Africities summit, the largest pan-African gathering of cities and local authorities, is attended by some 3,000 elected representatives.
The Marrakech event aims to mobilize African local authorities and their partners to achieve an inclusive and sustainable development in Africa.