ACPF 10th anniversary is definitely a cause for celebration. However, as much as it is a cause for celebration, it poses a challenge. ACPF was established to serve the best interest of Africa’s biggest and most critical segment of population- its children. ACPF's stellar track record over the past decade has raised the bar in terms of regional and global expectations of this organization.
African children suffer varying degrees of marginalization and violence. ACPF has kept abreast of the evolving needs of the African child; most importantly they have done this while adopting a child’s rights approach. ACPF should be commended for expanding its international network. ACPF has kept excellent rapport with both the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child based in Geneva and the Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the African Child. It has prioritised issues of concern such as budgeting for children; inter country adoption and combating violence against children including Female Genital Mutilation. A highlight of ACPF 2012 achievements is the adoption of its Guidelines for Action on the Inter country adoption of children in Africa. Another is the opening of a Child Protection Center which inter alia; caters for the right of the child to protection notably children involved with the justice system. The ACPF annual conference has been a great success providing opportunities for networking and exchange of experience amongst stakeholders at the African and global level.
I am confident that over the next decade ACPF will further assist African States to meet their obligations under both the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC). Areas of focus will be putting in place an infrastructure conducive to the implementation of the rights of the child such as:
- Harmonisation of national legislation with both CRC and ACRWC;
- Formulating national strategies with clear-cut, time-bound, and measurable objectives.
- Strengthening the mandate and resources of national entities in charge of coordinating the rights of the child.
- Establishing a central data system capable of revealing pockets of marginalization, to guide policies and target victims of exclusion ;
- Allocating adequate financial, human, and institutional resources. Such allocations will be made visible in the national budgets.
- States’ partnership with civil society in policy formulation, monitoring, and implementation.
- Implementing systematic and sustainable campaigns to raise awareness of Child’s rights among different segments of society. Human rights education for children is crucial to create an environment conducive to the respect and protection of human rights.
I am confident that ACPF will continue its legacy to ensure that every African child fully enjoys his/ her rights without discrimination of any kind, irrespective of the child's or his or her parent's or legal guardian's race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or social origin, property, disability, birth or other status. I look forward to following this remarkable organization's progress.