Tanzania: Parliament, Unicef Sign Deal On Children Rights

The National Assembly and the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) have signed an agreement aimed at enhancing collaboration and strengthen relations in the promotion and protection of children rights.

The agreement also seeks to promote good governance and accountability on the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) that Tanzania ratified in 1991.

The document resulted in the nation agreeing to the optional protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography in 2003, involvement of children in armed conflicts in 2004 and the law of child Act No 21 of 2009 that both seek to promote, protect and maintain the welfare of a child.

National Assembly Speaker Job Ndugai speaking shortly after inking the new agreement said the one-year technical partnership may be renewed.

This is specific "to enhance knowledge and strengthening ties to children in the country through sharing knowledge, experience, best practices and expertise on children issues," he said.

Of the 55 million people in Tanzania, almost 50 per cent or 28 million people are under the age of 18 years.

Common challenges facing this group includes 270 children reportedly die daily mostly from preventable causes.

The 37 per cent of child mortalities occur in the first 28 days of their lives.

72 per cent of boys and 73 per cent of girls' experience physical violence and as high as 27 per cent of women aged 15-19 have begun childbearing.

Mr Ndugai said to galvanize positive actions of the parliamentarians on issues pertaining to children and ensure child-centric policies and programmes across the country the partnership was inevitable.

"Our part as the Parliament, we shall coordinate and supervise the implementation of the objectives of this MoU and implementing partner and UNICEF shall provide financial and technical resources for the activity," he said.

UNICEF Deputy Country Representative in Tanzania, Rene van Dongen, explained that "the partnership has come at the right time, as this year is a very important one to all of us stakeholders who are advancing children issues across the globe as we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the adoption of UNCRC."

He said the MoU will advance commitment of the two high institutions to improve children agenda across the sphere of influence in line with the CRC.

Dongen said the partnership aim to increase understanding of parliamentarians on core child right issues through regular briefing sessions on specific issues, field visits to learn more on the situation of children so that they can take action to address challenges facing children.

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