West and Central Africa Consultation Closes

Summary: Closing session of the West and Central Africa
regional consultation on violence against
children, Bamako, Mali 23-25 May 2005.

[25 May 2005, BAMAKO] – In her final address to the speakers and
participants, the children's spokesperson said she was worried the
recommendations would be forgotten as soon as the session closes. “We
do our best in participating and much remains to be done…, you have to
implement the recommendations”.

“Last week,” she continued “all of us, met here in Bamako to share ideas
and prepare for our participation and recommendations for the
consultation. When we talk about participation, we do not just mean for us
to read our declaration; but to speak up and give our views and be given
the respect we deserve. Adults must be careful to respect our opinions.
And though we are not angels, we are inspirational, and for us the abuse
of one child, is one child too many. How would you feel if that child was
your daughter, or your son, your sister or your brother, how would you feel
about that? Well think about it, because that’s how we feel because they
are our brothers and sisters”.

In his closing speech, Professor Paulo Pinheiro, Independent Expert
leading the UN Secretary-General’s Study, suggested to government
representatives that someone in their office should hold responsibility for
following up on the recommendations adopted during the meeting.

“The Study”, he explained, “has a time limit for actions and strategies to be
established, which is when it is presented to the UN General Assembly in
2006, however this is not the case for the region”. He hopes the
recommendations will reinforce the huge efforts that have already been
undertaken on many levels in the region, and was pleased to hear that
governments attending the consultation had already been exchanging
experiences and ideas to collaborate in their efforts to eliminate violence
against children.

He thanked religious leaders who took an active part in the consultation to
share their views and will to contribute to making children’s rights a reality.
Finally he said that the recommendations adopted at this consultation will
be fed into the global study, however the secretariat of the study still
welcomes contributions from governments, NGOs and children.

The final recommendations were put together by a drafting committee who
compiled all the recommendations of the working groups on the four
themes that were examined during the consultation: violence in the family,
in the community, in institutions, and in the work place. They were
presented to the participants by Ms. Awa N'Deye Ouedraogo, Member of
the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. Comments and suggestions
were noted and the final document will be available shortly.


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