African Union Youth Charter to be presented to heads of state

Zimbabwe’s Youth Development and Employment Creation Minister, Ambrose Mutinhiri, said this at a press conference on Thursday, ahead of the Day of the African Child commemorations last Friday.

The commemorations coincided with the Launch of Seven Days of Activism Against Child Abuse.

The minister said the adoption of the Charter, which will be ratified by the AU Summit of Heads of State in July, was a clear demonstration of the level of commitment and political will on issues of youth development.

Mutinhiri said Zimbabwe had been elected to be the first chairperson of the AU Ministerial Conference for Ministers Responsible for Youth for a two- year term of office starting in May 2006.

He said the theme for this year’s commemoration is “Fighting Child Abuse is fighting HIV and Aids,” adding the theme was pertinent as the country was experiencing an escalation in cases of child abuse.

Mutinhiri blasted those who sexually abused children, especially those in positions of authority.

” We have all heard of headmasters, teachers, parents, close relatives, church leaders and other community leaders sexually abusing children.

“One wonders whether there is sanity at all on the part of the perpetrators,” he said.

Mutinhiri reiterated his ministry’s support in the fight against child abuse in general.

The Day of the African Child is commemorated annually in memory of the school children that were massacred in Sharpeville, Soweto, South Africa on June 16, 1976.

The children wee gunned down by racist police as they demonstrated peacefully against a discriminatory education system.

The day was set aside in 1990 by the AU, then the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), mainly to encourage African governments to give special attention to their children’s well being. ‘ New Ziana.

June 2006
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