Dear Esteemed Reader,
We are just realizing that we are entering the sixth month of the year, and that we need to start taking stock of what we have achieved in the first half of the year. It is important to ask the fundamental questions about what we are achieving so far. Are we making more loses than gains or more gains than loses? Are our plans for 2023 really working or we have become complacent that we no longer think holistically?
As we start the month, International Child Labour Day falls first on June 12, 2023 under the theme “Social Justice for all: End Child Labour”. One is compelled to think beyond and ask whether we have the social justice for the children who are into child labour. We see many children involved in agricultural child labour. However, there are some sections of child labour that we might not be paying attention to. Children in the domestic labour industry who are working as child minders, selling various products for families are usually not included in the social justice processes. One would then ask how we intend to end this form of child labour. Many, if not all of us pass by children selling numerous merchandise at awkward times during the day and specifically during school time; classifying them as worst forms of child labour. We also pass them at odd hours selling food and other non-food items around drinking places and often times, we put a blind eye to this. Amidst all this, one is compelled to ask, Is social justice only for the privileged few?
In June we also commemorate the Day of the African Child which falls on the 16th of June every year. We ought to be asking ourselves whether we are winning on the commitment of the Africa’s Agenda for Children 2040 as we now have 17 years to go. This year’s theme is “The Rights of the Child in the Digital Environment”. The theme is about taking stock of what has been achieved thus far in ensuring that children are protected from all forms of online violence and abuse, and how they can fully enjoy their rights in the digital environment. As a country, we need to ask the big question of how are we ensuring that our children are protected from all forms of online and offline abuse. We therefore need to take an honest reflection and manage this to ensure that our children are operating in a safe digital environment that guarantees freedom and security.
It is therefore the duty of all stakeholders from government, the private sector, parents, guardians, caregivers, as well as CSOs to make sure that we promote and protect the rights of the child in this digital era and ensure that they realize their fundamental freedoms and rights such as freedom of expression, association and participation among others, while also ensuring that they are protected from the risks that comes with internet freedom.
Finally, June 19 every year, the world commemorates International Albinism Awareness Day where we celebrate the human rights of persons living with albinism across the globe. This year the day will be commemorated under the theme: “Inclusion is Strength” and highlights the need to involve persons with albinism in all spheres of life. In this regard, let us all join hands in raising awareness and protecting the rights and welfare of persons with albinism and create an inclusive society that respects their and dignity.
I wish you all a productive and prosperous month of June!