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Children’s rights key to policy-making

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Children’s rights key to policy-making

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The welfare of children and observance of their rights should be central to Parliament’s policy-making and legislative agenda, Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Cde Tsitsi Gezi said yesterday during the launch of the Parliamentary Caucus on Child Rights.

The caucus was established by parliamentarians drawn from the National Assembly and Senate in conjunction with several development partners.

Cde Gezi said the launch of the caucus was a critical turning point for Parliament in its quest to mainstream children’s issues in the policy and legislative agenda.

“Children’s issues and their well-being must always be at the centre of our debates in Parliament. We must appreciate that children are an important stakeholder in the policy and legislative making processes. Children by nature are vulnerable beings in need of love and care hence depend on us, the adults to protect them,” she said.

Cde Gezi said there were many social ills affecting children, including those related to access to education and health, abuse, early child marriages, domestic violence, child trafficking, child headed families and drug abuse.

“As parliamentarians championing children’s rights, it will be amiss of you to ignore such social problems which have far-reaching implications on the lives of the young ones and generations to come. Children’s issues are cross-cutting and therefore call for a holistic approach in addressing them,” she said. Chairperson of the Caucus and Buhera Central legislator Dr Matthew Nyashanu said the launch was an indication of how Parliament values the lives of children.

He also welcomed the gazetting of the Child Justice Bill and the Children’s Amendment Bill saying they will go a long way in alignment of laws with the Constitution and the country’s international obligations.

Dr Nyashanu added that some of the Caucus’ programmes lined up include meetings with children’s representative bodies and constituency meetings to enable interactions with children at grassroots level.

In her message, child President, Hazel Mandaza welcomed the launch of the Caucus especially as it coincided with commemorations of the Day of the African Child.

“Nothing for the children without us the children hence our input should be consulted in some policies, which concern us. In promotion of inclusivity, I would like to speak on behalf of children with disabilities,chances for them to take part in leadership and decision making processes should be guaranteed,” she said.

A number of organisations that include Unicef, the Southern Africa Parliament Support Trust, World Vision, the Zimbabwe National Council for the Welfare of Children and Plan International pledged their support for the Caucus and their willingness to collaborate in its programmes. Herald

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