- President Denis Sassou-Ngesso of Congo Brazzaville has announced one of Africa's toughest child protection law packages, being hailed by international institutions.
A new child protection framework this week was announced by President Sassou-Ngesso in Brazzaville. The announcement was made together with Congo's Minister of Social Affairs, Humanitarian Action and Solidarity, Emilienne Raoul during celebrations.
"The child is a precious being that we must protect. Until today, the Congo did not fully recognise in law the special needs and requirements that must be in place to help build a better future for children," said Mrs Raoul. "We hope that this framework will help officials, civil society and communities act against child abuse."
Congo Brazzaville is the fifth French speaking African country to pass such measures for child protection. It is made up of a collection of texts covering all aspects of child protection, including issues concerning children in conflict with the law.
The new legislation was hailed by the UN's children fund UNICEF. "This framework will better monitor the violation of children's rights abuses and help to improve the situation to build a protective environment for children," said Marianne Flach, UNICEF Representative in Brazzaville.
"It is a major breakthrough that opens new perspectives in the protection and realisation of children's rights in Congo," Ms Flach added in her statement. Better protection mechanisms were "key to stamping out abuse," UNICEF held.
UNICEF further noted that, with the adoption of the approach came the Congolese government's "recognition that the welfare service in the country is weak and will need more funding." Regulation and legislation still needed to be updated and harmonised, the UN agency said.
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