Tuesday, October 3

Gov’t needs to take children’s welfare more seriously

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By Momodou Darboe

The coordinator of the Child Protection Alliance (CPA), Lamin Fatty, has said the Gambia government is side-stepping its responsibility to children.

The CPA coordinator added that the Barrow government is not committed to the protection, promotion and safe-guarding the rights of children in The Gambia.

In an interview with The Standard over the persistent child begging menace in some major towns of the country, Fatty said despite the creation of a directorate of children welfare, the presence of social welfare department and ministry of children’s affairs, the Gambia government has yet to show commitment to children.

“It is not about institutions but enforcing the laws. Government is not taking its duty as a primary duty bearer to protect, promote and safeguard the rights of children in this country. We have a government that is not committed to the welfare of children,” Fatty stressed.

According to him, there are laws in the country dealing with child begging but that government is lax in enforcing them.

“We do receive reports (on child begging) and not only that but we have been seeing it happening. We have engaged government on several occasions.

“The government is not committed to[solving]the problem, one can say because the commitment will have to be two-fold. You look at commitment in terms of law enforcement because we have laws that prohibit this practice (child begging).”

He continued: “The second aspect is how we will have investment in addressing child begging because all these children come from vulnerable families. So, government must be able to come up with an investment plan for the less-privileged, the vulnerable section of the society to make sure, at the end of the day, children are off the streets. These children are engaged in economic activity-tasked by the marabout to bring home certain amount of cash. This will force children to spend the entire day in the streets without doing any other productive things.”

The CPA coordinator finally called on the government to ‘adequately’ invest in children.