Human Rights Advisor at Stepping Stones International (SSI) Chirwa Mahloko has called on political parties to show their commitment towards the implementation of children’s rights.
This, he said, should be reflected in their manifestos as the nation readies itself for the 2019 general elections.
“We have therefore called a meeting to be held in Gaborone on October 5th between political parties, Civil Society Organizations (CSO) and other key stakeholders to see how we can work together,” said Mahloko.
In April this year, SSI and the #IshalNotForgetMovement engaged political parties to discuss the inclusion of children’s rights issues in their party’s manifesto.
“In partnership with other child protection organizations a joint CSO Priority Agenda on Children’s Rights and Child Protection in Botswana’ was developed,” said Mahloko.
He said the Agenda aims to support political parties to identify priorities and strategize on how to promote and protect children’s rights through their manifestos. He added that the letters we already sent to political parties inviting them of the said meeting.
According to Mathloko, the objective of the meeting is to discuss the state of Children’s Rights in Botswana. “We will thresh out priority areas and suggestions for interventions, the role of political parties in the protection and promotion of children’s rights and most importantly the inclusion of children’s rights issues in political party manifestos ahead of the 2019 General elections and beyond,” he said.
Mahloko also added, “For the longest time, our political parties have had nothing in their manifestos to reflect their commitment towards children’s rights. We will therefore not assume that all is well. During the meeting we will ensure children’s issues are addressed so that they get included in the manifestos from an informed point of view.”
Mahloko said there is a list of priority issues to be presented at the meeting regarding the promotion and protection of children’s rights. “For instance, the country needs child friendly courts to improve turn around time in cases that involve children, to have in place systems that will ensure issues are resolved in the best interest of the child. Another important issue is that of the full implementation of the Children’s Act and ensuring there is a proper budget to facilitate the same. It’s a statute that the government has failed to implement fully because it has never been financed,” said Mahloko.