With its judgment on 4 February 2021 against Dominic Ongwen, the International Criminal Court (ICC), based in The Hague, Netherlands, adds its third trial judgment to a series of findings that condemn crimes against children.
On the occasion of the anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child on 20 November 2020, the World Future Council warns that the rights of children embedded in the Convention are still not realized everywhere and that the health of girls and boys in particular is endangered by environmental pollution, climate change and hazardous chemicals.
Why health, wellbeing, and education of children across the globe are at risk from the pandemic — especially, but not only, in the Global South
Ghana on its way to its enhanced child protection system for survivors of child violence
For majority of children in Ghana, violence is an unfortunate part of their everyday life. According to official statistical reports, 9 out of 10 children are exposed to mental or physical violence, and physical punishment is a common phenomenon. More shocking are the figures for sexual violence: one out of five girls is sexually abused. There is an urgent need for action to protect children from violence! For girls and boys who experience and survive violence or abuse, a central, child-friendly centre providing the most essential services under one roof would be established from the first quarter of 2019, where trained personnel from the Social Welfare, Domestic Violence Unit of the Police Service (DOVVSU) and Ghana Health Service are available to offer prompt, secured and confidential service to victims. Our team conducted a technical workshop with representatives of Ministries and other key stakeholders responsible for child protection in Ho, South-East Ghana together with experts from Zanzibar to discuss and develop a roadmap to establish a pilot in Accra. These are the main results at a glance.
In November 2017, the World Future Council Foundation invited political decision-makers from 12 African and Asian countries to Zanzibar to acquaint themselves with the country’s comprehensive Children’s Act and its implementation. Zanzibar won the Gold Award of the “Political Oscar” Future Policy Award in 2015.
The Ghanaian delegation, consisting of representatives from the Department of Children of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Welfare and the Law Faculty of the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration were inspired by the one-stop-center model that Zanzibar has currently implemented in 6 out of 11 districts.
What is a one stop center?
One-Stop-Center (OSC) are central contact points for children and their families affected by (sexualised) violence. Here survivors can find psycho-social support, a police office to initiate criminal investigation as well as medical treatment including collection of forensic evidence under one roof. Ideally, legal help is part of the centre. The graphic illustrates the model:
As an important element of a strong national child protection system, the one-stop-centres provide survivors (girls and boys, women and men) with various initial services under one roof. As a result, the affected person does not have to go through the trauma of narrating the incident several times and also receives quick help. It helps parents stay focused on treating their child and persecuting the perpetrator. In cases without the OSC, survivors mostly have to visit different institutions – that costs money and time and often parents lose the momentum to persue the case. The later a case is reported, the harder it is to gather evidence of abuse on a child’s body.
Ideally, a one-stop center provides four services and is usually docted at a hospital:
- Psycho-social support – this is where the first interview takes place and the social worker decides which further steps are required. If there is an abuse / violence, the child will be escorted to the next room, where a police officer in civilian clothes and trained in child-friendly behaviour will fill in the form to follow up the case.
- Medical examination: in a third room, a medical doctor takes care of the child. Here the first medical and forensic examinations take place. If the child needs further special treatment, it will be treated immediately in the hospital.
- The employees of the one-stop-center are provided by the relevant ministries (Health, Interior, Family Affairs) and the Centre is (at best) coordinated by the Ministry of Health. All employees receive same training so they can better collaborate and follow same procedures and guidelines in writing the reports. This makes it easier for the police and the courts to track and prosecute cases.
- Support for counseling and legal aid is ideally offered in the fourth room.
Ghana on the way to pilot a one stop centre
After intensive discussions with the Department of Children from April 2018, the World Future Council Foundation organised a technical workshop to fully introduce the state agencies in the establishment and management of a one-stop-center model in Ghana from the 25-27 November 2018. We invited experts from Zanzibar to Ghana: Deputy Chairwoman Halima Abdallah, who spearheaded the establishment of the One-Stop-Center in the Ministry of Family and Health, Dr. Marijani, who has been responsible for medical and forensic investigations since its implementation in 2011, and Farshuu Khalfa, head of a one-stop center in Stone Town. Their insights, expertise and practical experience were most welcome and helpful in drawing up the roadmap for Ghana.
Under the auspices of the Children’s Department, 30 key representatives and decision-makers took part in the workshop to discuss the need for the OSC and to develop the roadmap for a pilot program. The participants represented the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, the Social Welfare Department and the specialised Domestic Violence Unit of the Police service – DOVVSU. Medical representative and international child rights organisations including ActionAid, World Vision, International Needs, UNFPA and UNICEF were also present.
The most important results of the workshop at a glance:
- Development of a roadmap for the establishment of a pilot in Accra
- National coordination agency of the One-Stop-Center pilot program will be the Ministry of Health with support of other ministries
- An inter-ministerial conference is scheduled for the first quarter of 2019 to decide on the roadmap and timetable
- A core group will identify a possible location for the pilot program in Accra
Strengthening the child protection system in Ghana
Last week, the World Future Council was on a scoping mission to Ghana to introduce the model of one-stop-centers to stakeholders in Ghana. The aim is to build on the existing structures to strengthen the child protection system in Ghana. Together with the Department of Children we had good discussions with the National Child Protection Committee in Accra and the Northern Regional Child Protection Committee in Tamale. We met dedicated and engaged partners and look forward to work with them on a pilot in November this year.
The one-stop-centers provide essential services for survivors of abuse under one roof. During our international conference on child protection we hosted in Zanzibar last year, we introduced the model of one-stop-centers, which inspired Ghanaian policy makers attending the conference. The Zanzibar’s Children’s Act 2011, which won our Gold Future Policy Award in 2015, layed the foundation for the child protection system in Zanzibar.
From the 28 – 30 November the World Future Council (WFC) hosted an international child rights conference in Zanzibar to explore the positive impacts of Zanzibar’s Children’s Act and share success stories on child protection, child friendly justice and participation from around the world. Representatives of ministries and policymakers from 12 countries, mainly from Africa and Asia, alongside experts on children’s rights and representatives from civil society drew up the Zanzibar Declaration on Securing Children’s Rights, committing themselves to taking strong action to eradicate all forms of violence against girls and boys. The assembly greatly benefited from the expertise and passion of two WFC Councillors Dr. Gertrude Ibengwé Mongella, former President of the Pan-African Parliament and Dr. Auma Obama, Chair and Founder of the Sauti Kuu Foundation.
The signatories from across Africa and Asia commit to end violence against children, strengthen child rights and advocate to increase budgets for children
Zanzibar, 1 December 2017: At the International Child Rights Conference in Zanzibar on sharing best practice and policy on child protection, justice and participation, convened by the World Future Council (WFC), representatives and policymakers from Ghana, Indonesia, Liberia, Nigeria, Seychelles, Somaliland, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Tunisia, Zanzibar and experts on children’s rights and representatives from civil society signed the Zanzibar Declaration on Securing Children’s Rights. In addition, there were detailed country commitments on how each jurisdiction will take forward their own child rights and protection plans. The declaration was facilitated by Dr. Amb. Gertrude Ibengwé Mongella, WFC Honorary Councillor and former President of the Pan-African Parliament. Read more
At the International Child Rights Conference in Zanzibar on sharing best practice and policy on child protection, justice and participation, convened by the World Future Council with the support of Ministry of Labour Empowerment Elders Youth Women and Children of the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar;
We, representatives, nominated by our ministries, and policymakers from Ghana, Indonesia, Liberia, Nigeria, Seychelles, Somaliland, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Tunisia, Zanzibar and experts on children’s rights and representatives from civil society;
Acknowledging the commitment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end all forms of violence against girls and boys by 2030 (especially SDG 5 and 16), and to promote participation of children;
Recognising successful and exemplary policies and programmes in Africa and Asia; for example, Zanzibar’s Children’s Act 2011 that was highlighted by the Future Policy Award 2015 initiated by the World Future Council in cooperation with UNICEF and the Inter-Parliamentary-Union;
Further recognising that countries have ratified the UN-Convention on the Rights of Child and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child;
Emphasising the urgent need to harmonise laws and policies in accordance with internationally and regionally agreed instruments, that there is an urgent need to act on a community, local and national level to introduce and scale up successful experiences and best practices to end all forms of violence against girls and boys;
Take back to our countries, policies and programme ideas, and successful experiences discussed at the International Child Rights Conference in Zanzibar.
Build support for these in our national and local governments and with our parliamentarians, local leaders, families, civil society organisations, and media.
Protect and parent children positively; putting children’s best interests at the centre of decisions that affect them.
Address gender inequality by taking a holistic and lifelong approach to the elimination of violence against women and children.
Take action to eradicate all forms of violence against children, through raising awareness and sensitization about violence against girls and boys, harmful practices (e.g. child marriage) and corporal punishment in all settings.
Strengthen formal and informal child protection systems on all levels with a strong focus on prevention programmes (including family preservation, the involvement of fathers and male caregivers), and to advocate for quality training of social workers, the implementation of disaggregated data management systems (CPMIS), effective case management as well as reporting and evaluation mechanisms.
Lobby and advocate governments to increase their budgets for children, and develop innovative mechanisms for financing child protection services.
Facilitate effective implementation of local and national programs, policies and National Plans of Action, on child protection and participation, as part of national strategies to effectively tackle child abuse, neglect and exploitation.
Promote the harmonization of national, religious and customary laws so that they advance the ACRWC and the UNCRC and protect the best interests of the child.
Zanzibar, 30 November 2017
Andi Taletting Langi, Deputy Director for Human Rights Foreign Affairs Cooperation Directorate General of Human Rights Ministry of Law and Human Rights of the Republic of Indonesia, Indonesia
Edmund Amarkwe Foley, Head of Department for Public Law, GIMPA Faculty of Law, Ghana
Christopher Lartey, Senior Programme Officer, National Advisory Committee on Child Protection Policies and Law Reform, Ghana
Dr Nkatha Murungi, Head Children and Law Programme, African Child Policy Forum
Victoria Williams Zaway, Director of Children Protection and Development Division, Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Liberia
Mariam Fitumi Shaibu, Chief Social Welfare Officer, Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, Child Development Department, Nigeria
Sylvette Sandra Jeannine Gertrude, Director Social Services, Ministry of Family Affairs, Social Affairs Department, Social Services Division, Seychelles
Chantal Cadeau, Principal Social Work, Ministry for Social Affairs, Seychelles
Khadra Ali Abdi, Head of Child Protection Unit of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, Somaliland
Abdulaziiz Saed Salah, Executive Director, Youth Volunteers for Development and Environment Conservation (YOVENCO), Somaliland
Shabhan Abdillahi Elmi, YOVENCO, Somaliland
Mohamed Aden Nur, CP/ CRG Officer, Save the Children, Somaliland
Kinsi Farah Aden, Project Manager, Save the Children, Somaliland
Suzan Akwii CP/CRG Technical Specialist, Save the Children, Somaliland
Mohamoud M. Aqli, CP/CRG Programme Manager, Save the Children, Somaliland
Abdikarim M. Yussef, CP Officer, Save the Children, Somaliland
Bongani Sithole, Department of Social Development, South Africa
Sonia Vohito, Africa Project Coordinator, The Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children, South Africa
Celina Grace Peter Kenyi, Director for Child Welfare, Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Welfare, South Sudan
Salma Radwan Salmeen Saeed, Head of the Child, Women and Persons with disabilities Section, Ministry of Justice, Sudan
Yassir Shalabi Mohamed, Executive Director, Child Rights Institute, Sudan
Dr Katanta Lazarus Simwanza, Head of Gender, ASRHR and Inclusion, Plan International, Tanzania
Asma Matoussi Hidri, Early Childhood Director, Ministry of Family Women and Childhood, Tunisia
Fatma Bilal, Principal Secretary, Ministry of Labour, Empowerment, Elders, Youth, Women and Children, Zanzibar
Khadija Bakari Juma, Principal Secretary, Ministry of Education and Vocational Training, Zanzibar
Nasima Chum, Director Dept. of Women and Children Development, Ministry of Labour, Empowerment, Elders, Youth, Women and Children, Zanzibar
Mhaza Gharib, Director Dept. of Social Welfare, Ministry of Labour, Empowerment, Elders, Youth, Women and Children, Zanzibar
I M. Ibrahim, Director of Public Prosecutions, Zanzibar
Didas Khalfan, Ministry of Labour, Empowerment, Elders, Youth, Women and Children, Zanzibar
Hon. Sabra Mohamed, Chairperson at Children’s Court, Zanzibar
Hon. Valentina Andrew Katema, Regional Magistrate, Zanzibar
Dr Issa Ziddy, State University of Zanzibar
Sheikh Daud Khamis Salim, Appellate Khadi’s Court, Pemba, Zanzibar
Abdallah Ahmed Suleman, Executive Secretary, Tanzania Youth Icon [TAYI], Zanzibar.
Mali Nilsson, Zanzibar Representative, Save the Children
Shane Keenan, Child Protection Specialist, Zanzibar Field Office ,UNICEF
Nasria Saleh Hamid, Zanzibar Social Work Association, Zanzibar Child Rights Centre
Mussa Kombo Mussa, Chairman of the Zanzibar Children’s Rights Network
Nuru Mwalim Khamis, Vice Chairperson of the Zanzibar Social Worker Association (ZASWA), Zanzibar Child Rights Centre
Kauthar Kassim S. Dadi, Zanzibar Social Work Association, Zanzibar Child Rights Centre
Nunuu Ali, Zanzibar Child Rights Forum/Society for the Protection of Women and Children Rights and Development Pemba
Hasina Salim Bukheti, Zanzibar Child Right Forum (ZCRF), Vice Chairperson/ member of executive committee of Zanzibar Association for Children Advancement (ZACA).
Seif Zanzibar, Child Rights Centre
Dr Auma Obama, Founder and Chair Sauti Kuu Foundation, Chair of the Expert Commission on the Rights of Children, World Future Council
Hon. Dr Amb. Gertrude Ibengwé Mongella – Former President of the Pan-African Parliament, Honorary Councillor World Future Council
Alexandra Wandel, Director, World Future Council
Samia Kassid, Senior Project Manager – Rights of Children, World Future Council
Alistair Whitby, Senior Policy Officer – The Rights of Children, Future Justice, World Future Council
Dr Kate McAlpine, Doing the Right Thing.
Tia Egglestone, Consultant, World Future Council
Heather O’Dea, Consultant, World Future Council
World Future Council
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World Future Council organizes international child rights conference in Zanzibar with high-level political participants from across Africa and Asia
Hamburg/Zanzibar, 27th November 2017: The World Future Council (WFC) is organizing an international conference to exchange best practices and policies to tackle violence against children and youths. The conference is taking place in Zanzibar from 28 th to 30 th November. High-level policy-makers from across Africa, as well as Indonesia, Seychelles and Mauritius, are attending the conference. Zanzibar will host the conference as the winner of the World Future Council’s 2015 Future Policy Award, also known as the “Oscar for best policies”, for its Children’s Act. Read more
Sharing best practice and policy on child protection, justice and participation
Realising every child’s right to freedom from violence and to participation is a fundamental element of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Recent estimates show that at least one billion children are victims of violence every year. Violence against girls and boys in all its forms compromises all children’s rights and leaves not only long-lasting scars on children’s lives but also weakens social and economic progress.
In 2009, Tanzania and its semi-autonomous island region of Zanzibar was one of the first countries in Africa to undertake a national study on violence against children. In response to its findings, and to streamline national child rights legislation, the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar introduced a comprehensive children’s rights law. Zanzibar’s ‘Children’s Act’ was awarded the gold prize at our 2015 Future Policy Awards for its effective response to child abuse and violence and for its promotion and protection of child rights.
Following up on the awarding, the World Future Council is now organizing an international child rights conference in November in Zanzibar, offering participants, nominated by their ministries, from across Africa and internationally a platform to learn from the Zanzibar example and exchange best practice examples from their home countries.
Aims of the conference:
… to offer insights from Zanzibar’s Child Protection System and the Children’s Act to policy makers and technical experts from other jurisdictions
… to exchange best practice examples from countries across Africa and internationally on topics such as child rights, participation, child justice, protection and positive discipline
… to provide a platform and learn from each other and to mutually improve policies, practices and impacts for the benefit of children and young people, particularly those that are vulnerable
… to strengthen synergies and networks for multi-stakeholder dialogue and promote the ongoing improvement of child rights laws and policies through cross-border learning.
… to identify opportunities, trends and success factors for policy reform and progress in the child rights arena
Context of the conference:
With its specific target (16.2) on ending all forms of violence against children, ensuring their safety and protection as well as reiterating their rights to access justice and information, the 2030 Agenda adds further strong international impetus to ending violence against children. Good child rights laws, policies and practices and their effective implementation play a crucial role in meeting these aims and targets.
In the recent years, Zanzibar is increasingly working on the implementation of empowerment of children and women. A pioneering feature of the drafting phase of Zanzibar’s ‘Children’s Act’ was a child consultation process which provided young people with a strong role in the law’s development and led to a greater societal understanding of children’s rights. Another successful feature was the involvement of a wide range of relevant stakeholders (ministries, religious leaders, civil society groups etc) in the drafting phase and thereafter.
To promote a conducive policy environment to address child protection in Zanzibar a National Plan of Action to end violence against women and children (NAPVAC) (2011-2015), a national campaign and a child justice reform process were also undertaken. A very recent (2017) National Plan of Action to end Violence Against Women and Children (2017-2022) has also been introduced. Zanzibar’s Strategy for Growth and Reduction of Poverty (MKUZIII) stresses the importance of empowering women, protecting children, promoting gender equality and equity; all critical factors for Zanzibar’s economic and social transformation.