Girls call for more protection
Pupils of the St. Joseph Secondary School on Tuesday 11 December 2018 called on authorities to intensify the protection of children, especially girls. They made this plea during an engagement with IMATT College in collaboration with Open Society Initiative for West Africa on a public legal education programme, on the Child Rights Act of 2007. Some people say there has been an increase in gender-based violence where women and girls rights have been violated by young men or powerful, older men. A student of the St. Joseph Secondary School, Regina Alieu, noted, “We are the most vulnerable in the community and the government should ensure that we are protected at all costs. Our job is to go to school as kids. I am very happy for the lessons as it has broadened my knowledge on the rights and responsibilities of a child. The Street Law Public Legal education is to enlighten pupils of secondary schools about the Child Rights Act, which was enacted by the Sierra Leone Parliament on the 13 July 2007. Giving a summary of the Child Rights Act, Ronissa Harieston, of the IMAT College noted, “The Act protects the rights of those who are yet to attain the age of eighteen.” She said every child has the right to life, survival and development to the maxim extent possible, pointing out that no one should take those rights from them. She stressed that it is the right of a child to life, dignity, respect, leisure, liberty against health including immunization against diseases, education and shelter whether or not a child was born in wedlock, that child should not be deprived of reasonable provision out of the estate of that child parents. The Chief Executive Officer of IMATT College, Amadu Justice Bah, called on the pupils to engage the appropriate authorities when an attempt is being made on the violations of their rights. “You should not wait until your rights are violated, that’s why we are on this campaign to brief you about your rights and responsibilities.” According to the Head Girl of the St. Joseph Junior Secondary School, Salamatu Sall, “I learned that we should not be badly treated by anybody and we too have our roles and responsibilities that will must abide by.” The Public Relations Officer of IMATT, Alpha Bah, said, “The rights of a child are very important; these rights also go with responsibilities. Section 45 of the Child Rights Act, 2007, clearly states the every child should contribute towards family cohesion, respect parents and other people, exhibit diligence towards studies and work.