Parliament meets with Child Rights Coalition to discuss repeal of the 2007 Child Right Act
Minister Manty Tarawallie making a statement during the consultative meeting. February 2023. Photo Credit; Abdul Sillah - Save the Children
On Monday 20 February, the Child Rights Coalition Sierra Leone (CRC SL), a network of national and international civil society child rights advocates in Sierra Leone, held a consultative meeting with the Parliamentary Legislative Committee and Gender and Children's Affairs Committee in Parliament to discuss the repeal of the Child Rights Act of 2007 and the Children and Young Persons Act.
In attendance was Save the Children Country Director, Patrick Analo. In his statement, he encouraged participants to contribute to the process to ensure that key gaps identified in the bill are addressed to improve child rights in Sierra Leone.
The coalition presented recommendations to committee members for consideration in the Draft Child Rights Act Bill, which has been tabled in Parliament and will now undergo a series of consultations before it can be passed into law.
The recommendations also proposed inclusion of the abolition of child marriage in the bill; a key request from Save the Children who is also member of CRC SL. They called for stronger laws to protect girls from child marriage as well as punish anyone promoting or participating in child marriage.
The Minister of Gender and Children's Affairs, Manty Tarawallie, expressed her support for incorporating the Abolition of Child Marriage in the repealed Child Rights Act, stating that it would provide proper protection for the children of Sierra Leone.
The Chairman of the Legislative Committee, Hon. Abdul Sulaiman Murray-Conteh, stated that parliament is willing to ensure that the document works for the children of Sierra Leone and that the legislative committee will review it before the dissolution of parliament in April.
As the consultation process continues, it is hoped that the final draft of the Child Rights Act Bill will reflect the input of all stakeholders and serve as a significant step towards improving the lives of children in Sierra Leone.
Save the Children is delighted to be a part of this process that will ultimately lead to the start of something historic for the rights of children in Sierra Leone – particularly girls whose future are destroyed by early marriage.