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Joint Statement by the Department of Political Affairs, Peace and Security and Save the Children International on the Occasion of the Day of the African Child

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Addis Ababa June 16, 2021: In commemoration of the Day of the African Child (DAC), the AUC Department of Political Affairs, Peace and Security and Save the Children International, join Africans throughout the continent in celebrating this special day. This presents a unique opportunity to reflect on the advances made towards realizing children rights as well as remaining challenges.

Today, under the theme: “30 years after the adoption of the Charter: Accelerate implementation of Agenda 2040 for an Africa fit for children”, we recommit to scale up the promotion of the rights and welfare of children of Africa.

Despite important strides made by AU Member States in realizing children rights, grave violations continue to be committed against children in conflict settings. A study conducted by Save the Children in 2020 revealed that the number of children living in conflict zones is highest in Africa.

Among the six major violations committed against children is the attack on education, which continue to have devastating impact on students and teachers, with particularly debilitating long-term consequences for girls and women. In addition, female students and educators suffer horrific acts of violence within their schools and universities.

To remedy attacks on education, the Safe Schools Declaration is a key policy tool towards ensuring safe education for All. The COVID-19 pandemic and the consistent attacks on schools have had terrible impact on children across Africa, but it’s been worse for girls whose risk for gender-based violence or child marriage has been exacerbated. Hence, it is the responsibility of all stakeholders to ensure access to education and all children continue to learn while schools are closed through inclusive distance learning, that every child is supported to return to school when it’s safe to do so, and no child is left behind.

Governments and partners should also invest more in education to build back better education systems for all children.

The AUC Department of Political Affairs, Peace and Security will continue to offer commendable support for the safe school’s agenda as evidenced by AU Organs’ commitment to implement the Safe Schools Guidelines.

In addition, the AUC PAPS Department will soon launch the Africa Platform for Children Affected by Armed Conflict (AP-CAAC) to drive action within at all levels.

The advocacy efforts made towards the implementation of the Safe Schools Declaration and Guidelines at the national level has created the momentum. The upcoming Fourth International Conference on Safe Schools to be held in Abuja on October 25-27, 2021, with the AU as a co-host with Norway, Argentina, Spain, and Global Coalition for Protection of Education from Attack, is another opportunity to concretize action in support of safeguarding the future of African Children.

A Happy Day of the African Child to all!