Day of African child: 36,000 child victims of violence, sexual abuse identified in Nigeria, UNICEF laments

As the world celebrates the 2020 edition of ‘Day of the African Child’, with the theme: “Access to a Child-Friendly Justice System in Africa,” it has been observed that Nigeria is facing a child rights crisis lamenting however that
very few of those cases made it to the courtrooms, let alone resulted in justice for child victims.

The observation was made by UNICEF Nigeria which stated that More than 36,000 child victims of violence, including 5,693 survivors of sexual violence (16 per cent), were identified and documented in seven states of Nigeria since 2017.

According to a release from UNICEF made available to newsmen in Bauchi, At the same time, the number of children awaiting trial for what are often petty crimes is estimated to be more than 1,000 with children often held in detention with adults and in conditions that no child should live in.

This, therefore, necessitated that, experts in various fields will discuss the issues related to the need to develop a child-friendly justice system in Nigeria with no fewer than 800 participants and panellists who will deliberate and develop strategies to address the challenge of ensuring that children can access a justice system that considers their special needs and their rights.

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Peter Hawkins, UNICEF’s Representative in Nigeria as contained in the statement said: “Access to a child-friendly justice system is essential for protecting children’s rights and addressing violence against children. Without access to a child-friendly justice system, children’s rights will remain elusive – and as a society, we cannot serve the best interests of children, especially in the face of violations of their rights.”

About the Day of the African Child, On 16 June every year, the African Union (AU) and its partners celebrate the Day of the African Child (DAC) in commemoration of the 1976 protests by school children in Soweto, South Africa.

The students protested an education designed to further the purposes of the apartheid regime while the brutal response of the apartheid security agencies to the unarmed students’ protests resulted in the death of several of them.

The statement further contained that the 1976 protests contributed greatly to the eventual collapse of the apartheid regime and in 1991, the African Union Assembly passed a resolution designating 16 June as a Day for the celebration of the African child.

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