Child Ambassadors Call on Parliament to Expedite the Children’s Act 1989

Alison Sarah, a member of the Safe Club under the Children at Risk action network, asked parliament to expedite the Children’s Act 1989 which will help protect their rights as children.

The Children’s Act is currently before the Ministry of Justice. The Parliamentary council responsible for making the final draft of the amendment act held a meeting with ministry of gender and child rights organisations making more submissions.

The chairperson of the Children’s Forum Florence Mutyabule, Woman MP Namutumba, says they expect the Act to be tabled before Parliament in June for debate.

The child Ambassadors have petitioned members of the Children Forum on several issues affecting their daily lives.

These included, trafficking of children into orphanages and out of Uganda expressing worry over the growing number of baby care homes opening up in Uganda. This is despite the fact that some children are not total orphans and still have relatives depriving them of their right to grow within a family.

They also note that many children do not have birth certificates with only one out of five babies under five holding birth certificates.

They call on government to avail the certificate that gives them a right to a name and identity for free to allow them access to education and health care.

MP’s revealed that there is a draft policy on birth registration which is undergoing scrutiny by different stakeholders before it is presented to Parliament.

31 percent of children in Uganda are involved in child labour most of whom are in Kampala working as domestic servants, street vendors and beggars. The child ambassadors say these children are at risk of physical and sexual abuse at the same time denying them a right to education.

Uganda’s employment Act 2006 states that children under the age of 14 should work and those under should not be involved in dangerous work or work during the night.

They also noted that many television stations have more adult content that is not suitable for them.

They also noted that the Universal Primary Education is facing challenges especially poor quality of education and most of the children do not have meals due to lack of adequate budget. Government is currently spending less than 30,000 shillings per child under the UPE programme.

The children also asked government to make roads safer for children with walkways and respectable zebra crossings considering 400 children die in Uganda every year. This is especially for children between the age of 4 and 14 years.

Alice Alaso a member of the road safety forum says they are planning to introduce a traffic school model to teach the children how to cross without running.

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