The children are the future leaders
The rights of children are fundamental and inherent rights of all human beings below the age of 18. These rights are applicable to every child, irrespective of his/her origin, race, colour, sex or creed.
The essential message here is equality of opportunity. Girls should be given the same opportunities as boys. All children should have the same rights and should be given the same opportunity to enjoy an adequate standard of living.
Child rights may be broadly classified as the rights of all children to: survival, development, protection and participation.
Child rights are important to be upheld due to the fact that children are innocent, trustworthy and full of hope.
Their childhood should be joyful and loving. Their lives should mature gradually as they gain new experiences in life. But for many children, the reality of childhood is altogether different. Through history, rights of children have been abused and exploited. They suffer from hunger and homelessness, like African countries work under harmful and dangerous conditions, suffer high mortality rate, lack basic healthcare and limited opportunities for basic education. In Sierra Leone today the street children do not have any privilege from government. As a childhood can and must be preserved, children have the rights to survival, development, protection and to participate in decisions that impact their lives.
These should be the basic rights of all children across the world as defined in the 1989 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child – an international human rights treaty to which 191 countries are signatories.
The Charter of Child Rights is built on the principle that “ALL children are born with fundamental freedoms and ALL human beings have some inherent rights.”
A case study to show that the reality of childhood is altogether different is those used by destitute parents to aid them in earning their daily living as beggars.
The million dollar question that begs for a reasonable and tangible answer on this issue is what does the future hold for these children who are left to languish, perish as a result of exposure to all sorts of criminal and harmful street lives.
They are supposed to be future leaders but see how pathetic it is it that they are not treated as such.
Most or all of these disadvantaged children this writer had spoken to expressed interest in education. The fact is, however, their parents cannot afford the expensive education system in the country, and hence they have no alternative but to follow them in the degrading act of begging.
One of the destitute, an old blind man named Pa Momodu Kamara intimated that it is not his wish to use his only child in Sierra Leone to beg, but he is left with no option other than what they are presently engaged in as he cannot afford sending his child to school.
It is in the strong view of this writer that if only securing or working towards a better future for this our beloved nation Sierra Leone is something serious in the minds of the governments, these are some of the issues that need to be addressed with all the seriousness and urgency attached.
These children are not meant to be in the streets; their rights as children need to be preserved. The children deserve better than this. They are not meant to languish in the streets of Freetown but their rights must be preserved.
By Samuel Henry Taylor; Freelance Journalist
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