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Uganda lagging behind in implementing UN convention on rights of children-UNICEF

FILE PHOTO: Ugandan school children.

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Uganda is lagging behind in Implementing the UN Convention on the rights of children.

According to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child-(UNCRC), every child has a right to be protected from any kind of exploitation and should have the right to have good quality education.

According to UNICEF, Uganda still has a long way to go in implementing the convention which it ratified in 1990.

Catherine Ntabadde Makumbi, a communication specialist at UNICEF says that Uganda has taken big steps to advocate for the rights of children but a lot more can be done. She says that Uganda has made big strides in promoting Education.

Makumbi says that government needs to do more on areas concerning violence against children.

According to the 2018 Violence against Children Report, at least 20 percent of the children in the country have experienced at least one form of violence before they reach 18 years. Eastern Uganda emerged as the most violent against children.

To be able to implement all the rights, UNICEF says that more sensitization is needed especially on the part of parents.

“Implementing child rights should not be the responsibility of only government or partners like UNICEF. Parents have the biggest part to play but most them do not even fully know about the rights that their children have. So, a lot of work needs to be done in this area,” Makumbi said.

Other area where Uganda needs to improve is nutrition of children.

According to UNICEF’s 2019 State of the World Children’s Report, poor nutrition is an area that needs more work. The report shows that three out of 10 children under five years in Uganda are stunted while 280,000 are too thin or wasted, and over 53 per cent of children below five years of age are anaemic. With over half its population under the age of 18, Uganda must pay attention to nutrition.

Diana Tibesigwa, the Policy and Campaign Officer for World Vision says that one of the biggest challenges Uganda faces in implementing the CRC are policy gaps. She says Uganda has many policies but enforcement of policies is still weak.

Lydia Najjembe Wasula, the focal person in charge of Ending Violence against Children in the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development says that they are working hard to ensure that all Ugandan children enjoy their childhood.

“We are working with many government ministries like the ministry of education to make sure that we reduce on cases of violence against children. Since we carried out a survey last year, we now know where to focus our efforts and we hope to improve the situation soon,” Wasula says.

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