ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (PANA) - A senior UNICEF official is calling on Ethiopia to include special provisions on children when it establishes its human rights commission and the national ombudsman office next year.
"It is pertinent to clearly and explicitly provide in the proposed bill establishing the two human rights institutions, organisational arrangements to include special sections for children and to determine the mandates or the powers and duties of the state organ dealing with children," the deputy director of emergency Operations of UNICEF, Abdulmajid Hussein, told the Federal Parliament in Addis Ababa Tuesday.
He said the special provisions on children should be inserted in the draft bill now before the Council of Peoples' Representatives (Lower House).
"Children are silent members of society whose cries of pain are not usually heard, their problems and grievances are always engulfed by the voices of adults, and their questions are assimilated with questions and problems of adults," he said.
He described as "inadequate" current institutional arrangements and facilities to deal with juvenile delinquents in Ethiopia, and expressed UNICEF's readiness to help build the capacity of Ethiopian institutions handling juvenile delinquents.
Abdulmajid, who joined UNICEF about 18 months ago, formerly served as minister of transport and communications in Ethiopia.
Children account for some 55 percent of Ethiopia's over 60 million population, according to the latest census figures.
Ethiopia, a signatory of the UN conventions for the protection of the rights of children, has one of Africa's worst street children problems.
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