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Her Majesty Queen 'Masenate Mohato Seeiso has called on all African countries to implement strategies aimed at achieving child related development goals and those that will continue to achieve the objectives of the African charter on the rights and welfare of the child.

Her Majesty was speaking at the official opening of the 29th Ordinary Session of the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC) held in Maseru on Tuesday. The meeting brought together committee members and delegates from African Union with the aim to among others, state reports on progress regarding the implementation of the African charter and welfare of the child.

She said the subject of children protection remains a priority in the country, indicating that the situation analysis of Orphaned and Vulnerable Children (OVC) that was conducted in the country estimated that 10 percent of Basotho children are vulnerable and three percent are most vulnerable.

She said it is with this regard that African countries should identify the root cause of abuse, neglect, and exploitation of children, saying all these led to adoption of laws and programmes aimed at protecting the rights of children in Lesotho.

Her Majesty therefore asserted that it would be an honour for the country to hold the ACERWC Secretariat in a quest to protect the rights of African generation, hence expressed gratitude to ACERWC for granting the country an opportunity to hold the ordinary session.

Speaking at the same event, the Acting Minister of Social Development, Mr. Ts'eliso Mokhosi said the country strives to promote protection and welfare of children in Africa, saying the country is looking forward to hosting the ACERWC Secretariat.

Mr. Mokhosi urged the participants to continue to learn and share experiences aimed at improving service delivery for the welfare of children as well as to analyse the child protection programmes in the country, which are in line with the African Charter on the rights and welfare of the child.

ACERWC Chairperson, Professor Benyam Dawit Mezmur said children continue to be victims of climate change, HIV and AIDS as well as drought among others.

He said the deliberations of the session will create an opportunity for countries to engage in introspection regarding protection and welfare of the child, noting that issues such as violence against children, quality education provided to children particularly those with disabilities, children in conflict with the law will be discussed.

Speaking on behalf of the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), Dr Anthony Asije said UNICEF supports Lesotho in her efforts to ensure the protection and welfare of vulnerable children.

He said the country consolidates efforts of various child rights policies and evaluation of service delivery on child rights, expressing hope that the session will address all aspects that will promote protection and welfare of a child.

The session which will end on May 09, forms part of the continuation of an assessment for Lesotho's readiness and eligibility to host the headquarters of ACERWC Secretariat.

In the beginning, Lesotho was competing with Kenya, Botswana, Burkina Faso and Sudan. The country has 91 points while Sudan has 92.

Present at the event were among others, the Deputy Prime Minister, Mr. Mothetjoa Metsing, Ministers, Heads of Diplomatic Missions in Lesotho and other government dignitaries.

The first visit by the committee delegation to Lesotho was in October 2015 with the aim to assess the country’s readiness to host the headquarters of the Secretariat, which is currently based in Ethiopia.


Source: LENA 02/05/2017



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