MoFAIC Building, Tower Hill, Freetown, 8th August 2023
The Africa Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC) has met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr. Timothy M. Kabba in his Ministerial conference room, Tower Hill, Freetown.
The delegation was welcomed by the Director-General and Ambassador at Large, Dr. Victoria Sulimani who said that such a courtesy call on the Minister shows the level of progress Sierra Leone is making in the implementation of all international instruments to which the country is a party.
Honourable Aver Gavar, Country Rapporteur of the Republic of Sierra Leone commended the Government of Sierra Leone for ratifying the Africa Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child and the submission of its initial report on the status of the implementation of the Charter in 2017.
She said that their visit to the country was to follow up with government ministries and organizations on progress made on the recommendations and observations made by the Committee.
She reminded Government that the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child requires State Parties to submit reports on the steps taken to ensure the realization of the rights of the child, adding that State Parties commit to submit an initial report two years after ratification and periodic reports every three years.
In his response, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr. Timothy Musa Kabba, thanked the delegation for noting the significant gains made by the Government in addressing children’s issues.
Mr. Timothy Kabba informed the delegation that the separation of the Ministry of Social Welfare Gender and Children’s Affairs into two Ministries shows the commitment of the government to prioritizing the well-being of the child.
“Government has invested a lot in terms of addressing the concerns of the children to give them a brighter future.
Under the leadership of His Excellency President Dr. Julius Maada Bio Sierra Leone has been globally recognized as the Champion for foundation learning. 22% of the country’s budget has been allocated towards the provision of good education for our children. Children in the rural areas now have access to better education just like those in Freetown. The Radical Inclusion policy of the government has also given equal opportunities to pregnant girls to attend school which was not happening in the past.
Through the support of our partners, the government has been able to roll out the School Feeding Program in the provinces which has led to over 120% primary school enrollment,” the Minister said.
Mr. Timothy Kabba highlighted the impact of the ‘Hands off Our Girls’ campaign and the free sanitary pad for girls that were launched by the First Lady Madam Fatima Bio in support of girls’ empowerment and the review of the Sexual Offences Act in 2019. This according to the Minister has given more protection to women and girls in society.
The Minister assured the delegation of his ministry’s support in facilitating their interactions with other ministries during their engagements