Safeguarding Children’s Rights: voice and views from African communities by Charles Rukwengye of Africa Policy Research Network (APORENet) captures the themes of discussions over five years with more than 900 African Londoners about children’s rights and traditional practices ranging from Female Genital Mutilation to corporal punishment.
It highlights the wide diversity of views but also some key shared concept of children’s rights within African communities:
- Bringing up children is the responsibility both of their parents and their community as a whole.
- Children should be brought up to respect their parents, elders and social traditions.
- Children should not be abused by their parents, elders, and or peers physically, mentally or sexually.
- Children must be protected from bad elements of society.
- Children have pre-determined roles in society. Young people become adults through rites of passage.
- Children are a gift from the gods and their fate lies in the hands of the gods.
- Community needs override the needs of any individual – whether adult or child.
The report also includes ideas for community driven solutions. A significant number of participants were interested in becoming champions to promote children’s safety and rights.
Africa Policy Research Network (APORENet) is a charity which aims to promote human rights for the benefit of the public, particularly African communities living in the UK. APORENet’s community education project was principally funded by Big Lottery Fund. The writing up and publication of the reports were funded by Trust for London.