‘Incorporate children’s rights in mainstream programmes’

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LOCAL children’s rights lobby group, Africaid, has bemoaned communities’ perpetuation of stereotypes against children and their failure to integrate children’s rights into the mainstream programmes.

By Phyllis Mbanje

Africaid’s call coincided with today’s commemorations of the Day of the African Child (DAC).

This year’s edition of the DAC will be held under the theme 25 Years After the Adoption of the African Children’s Charter: Accelerating Our Collective Efforts to End Child Marriages in Africa.

Africaid spokesperson Tinashe Rufurwadzo said: “Some of the children and adolescents do not know their HIV status of which it is their right to be tested for HIV and know their status.”

He said they were also advocating for more participation of young adults in issues to do with sexual reproductive health.

Africaid implements the right to participation with attention on children and adolescents living with HIV through the Zvandiri Community Adolescents and Treatment Supporters (CATS) Programme.

CATS provides direct psychosocial and health support services to peers living with HIV, to caregivers and to young HIV-positive parents. It also seeks to implement innovative ways of communicating and creating awareness to reduce stigma and discrimination.

“This is in accordance with the African Youth Charter Article 11 which stipulates that every young person shall have the right to participation in all spheres of society,” said the Africaid spokesperson.

Each year on June 16, African countries celebrate and recognise children all over the continent despite their differences, in remembrance of the sacrifices made by South African youths in 1976 who protested the inferior quality of their education and demanded equal rights. Thousands of children were injured and more than 100 people were massacred.

Last week visiting UNAIDS executive director Michel Sidibe said challenged society to safeguard the rights of children and adolescents.