JOYCE ODUAH COMMEMORATES DAY OF THE AFRICAN CHILD AND CALLS FOR THE FULL IMPLEMENTATION OF AFRICAN CHARTER ON THE RIGHTS AND WELFARE OF THE CHILD
My distinguished colleagues and dear friends, many decades ago, thousands of black children protested on the street of Soweto, South Africa against poor quality of their education. Many of them lost their lives in the struggle for quality education and fight against racism. In commemorating that day, 16 June was chosen by the then Organisation for African Unity (OAU) as the International African Child Day, to celebrate and honour those who participated in the Soweto Uprising.
Today, I join the African Union and its member States to celebrate the African Child. May I reiterate that children are precious gifts from God, with inestimable value and inalienable rights, regardless of their race. Children should be treasured and treated with dignity. Every African Child deserves to enjoy equal opportunity, rights and privileges, regardless of the child’s colour. Our government must create a child-friendly justice system and equally improve the quality of education for our children.
In Africa, education for children must be compulsory and free. Without providing quality education, we cannot prepare them for the future. On this special day, I hereby enjoin all African countries to implement the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child.
I salute the courage of the Soweto Children who fought for the freedom others are enjoying today. Indeed, we remember them not only as courageous children but as African heroes.
Joyce Oduah, FICMC
NBA Treasurer, 2012-2014
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