As a prelude to the official events scheduled to take place, delayed, next week in the department of Ouémé, Mrs. Véronique TOGNIFODÉ, Minister of Social Affairs and Microfinance delivered a message in which she took stock of progress in Benin in the area of child protection, announce the actions planned by the Government of Benin for the promotion of children’s rights and then invite each Beninese and each Beninese as well as all the actors in the child protection chain to redouble their ardor for the welfare of our children.
Here is his full message.
Thursday, June 16, 2022, Benin, our country, celebrates, like the international community, the 32nd Day of the African Child.
This day, it should be remembered, was established in 1991 by the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union in memory of the hundreds of children massacred during the uprising of June 16, 1976 in Soweto, in South Africa claiming their right to education.
The theme of this 32nd edition is “Eliminating Harmful Practices Affecting Children: Progress on Policies and Practices since 2013”. The African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC), has chosen this theme for the commemoration of the JEA in 2022 in order to take stock of what has been done in terms of adoption. policies and practices to effectively eliminate harmful practices affecting children in Africa. It is therefore an opportunity for governments and other actors to mark a strategic stop without stopping actions in order to analyze progress for better projections in the future.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The reference to the year 2013 reminds us of the JEA theme which was “Elimination of harmful social and cultural practices affecting children: Our collective responsibility”.
Through this celebration, the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of Children through its article 1 invites us to “take all appropriate measures to eliminate harmful social and cultural practices that affect the well-being, dignity, growth normal and child development. This is how several actions have been launched across Africa, including the launch by the African Union (AU) in 2014 of the campaign to end child marriage.
In Benin, despite the almost exhaustive legal arsenal, the multi-actor institutional framework and the various strategies and actions implemented, several children are still exposed to a whole series of harmful practices, in particular female genital mutilation, child marriage and forced marriages, corporal punishment, accusations of witchcraft, infanticide, incest, etc.
As you know so well, the situation of children has always been a permanent concern of the Government of President Patrice TALON. To this end, significant progress has been made at the legal, institutional, political and strategic levels. By way of illustration, we have the adoption of the Children’s Code and the adoption of some of its implementing decrees. But in view of the difficulties experienced by certain actors in terms of child protection relating to its application, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Microfinance has undertaken the review of law n ° 2015-08 of December 08, 2015 on the Code of children in the Republic of Benin with all child protection stakeholders. Also, we have Law No. 2021-11 on special provisions for the repression of offenses committed on the basis of a person’s sex, which pays particular attention to offenses committed against girls. I do not hide the actions carried out within the framework of the Zero Tolerance Campaign for Child Marriage carried out since 2016 and which have made it possible to certify 84 villages free of child marriage in certain communes of the northern zone of Benin.
In the same vein, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Microfinance has undertaken a clean-up at the level of the Child Protection and Reception Centers in order to provide a more protective environment for our children. Also, the Government, with the National Agency for Social Protection, carried out a systematic enrollment operation of orphans and vulnerable children accommodated in reception centers in order to enable them to have access to basic social services thanks to their ARCH card. Also to protect children, the child helpline 138 has been set up to report abuse and mistreatment of children. I would be remiss if I did not recall the latest reforms made at the level of the Central Authority for international adoption in Benin and which made it possible to launch the process of approving adoption organizations and to set up in Benin adoption procedures. It is also the place to remind the people of Benin of our call for a systematic declaration to the civil status of abandoned children whose parents cannot be found.
Beninese, Beninese, dear compatriots,
Harmful practices rob children, especially girls, of their childhood, the opportunity to determine their future, and threaten the well-being of individuals, families and societies. These practices have negative consequences for children and are likely to cause physical, psychological, economic, social harm and limit their ability to participate fully in society or to develop and reach their full potential.
It is in view of all these consequences in the face of which no one can remain indifferent, that we are called to a patriotic impulse to preserve and safeguard the well-being of these innocent beings whom we call the future of the Nation.
On the occasion of the celebration of this 32nd edition in our country, the official events will take place on June 23, 2022 in the town of Ifangni.
Finally, on the occasion of this celebration, I would like to invite each child protection actor to communicate with the populations on the need to abandon these practices in view of the negative consequences on children.
I remain hopeful that by continuing and coordinating our interventions, we will achieve better performance to the delight of our children.
Long live the Day of the African Child!
Long live Beninese children!
Long live Benin!