DCI calls on the Government of Sierra Leone to “Leave No Child Behind” in Sierra Leone’s development agenda

Freetown – 16 June 2018.

On June 16, Day of the African Child, Defence for Children International Sierra Leone (DCI-SL) is urging the Government of Sierra Leone to take prompt action to ensure that no “child is left behind” in the path towards sustainable economic development in Sierra Leone.

The theme of this year’s campaign is “Leave No Child Behind for Africa’s Development”. The aim is to remind each Member State, including Sierra Leone, of their duty to put children at the centre of their development agenda, and to ensure that no “child is left behind” in the path towards sustainable economic development.

This issue is particularly important for Sierra Leone, where children constitute nearly half of the country’s population. However, over 20% of children including street children, pregnant girls, victims of trafficking or domestic servitude are still out of school. Moreover, because of the lack of a rights-based approach to sustainable development, many children continue to endure violence and suffer from discriminatory practices that keep them outside development pathways.

DCI-SL will celebrate the event on June 16th by organizing a consultation with children on their role and experiences as human rights defenders in Sierra Leone. This will highlight key lessons learned by children as human rights defenders, as well as measures the Government and other key stakeholders should take to protect them. The final report of the consultation will be shared with the Government of Sierra Leone, during the Day of Genera Discussion of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) on September 28, 2018 in Geneva.

Whilst DCI-SL welcomes the Government’s actions articulating critical children’s rights issues in its development agenda “The New Direction”, it is also calling to immediately take concrete measures to implement this agenda via a plan with measurable indicators and using a rights-based approach in its implementation.

DCI-SL also urges the Government to implement the recommendation of the UNCRC Committee in its 2016 Concluding Observations for Sierra Leone, which recommended to use a child centred budgeting approach for all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA) in the delivery of governmental programmes. This approach increases monitoring and improves accountability of governments towards the realization of children’s rights in the implementation the national development agenda, which is linked to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

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To learn more about the joint statement, please contact DCI – Sierra Leone at info@dcisierraleone.org or by phone at +232 88 818089