2006 International Policy Conference: Violence against Girls in Africa

[ADDIS ABABA, 20 February 2006] – In South Africa, a child is raped every 15 minutes. Three million girls suffer genital mutilation every year in Africa. In Botswana, girls under the age of 14 are twice as likely as boys to contract HIV…the list could go on and on.

The African Child Policy Forum will hold its 2006 International Policy Conference on the African Child: Violence Against Girls in Africa on May 11 and 12 at the United Nations Conference Centre in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Speakers from the African Union, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child and members from Pan-African policy makers will join women’s-rights and child-rights organisations, as well as child survivors of violence, in this major two-day conference.

“The widespread problem of violence is a hidden one in Africa because of the very nature of the violence being committed,” says Dr. Assefa Bequele, Executive Director of the African Child Policy Forum. “The work of the Forum leading up to the conference, and bringing together organisations, governments and children at the conference, will create dialogue and in-turn, initiate real actions that cast a spotlight on this problem.”

The objective of the conference is to contribute to the ongoing international effort to effect attitudinal and policy changes toward violence against girls, by providing a platform for like-minded organisations to work together and initiate an Africa-wide movement against all forms of violence. The conference will ensure that African views and positions, especially regarding girls, are reflected in actions and resolutions taken by the African Union and the United Nations. The conference will address the complex problem of violence against girls in Africa and feature a powerful and diverse group of policy makers, human rights activists, prominent Africans, African youth and international journalists.

Just a few of the presenters who have been invited to participate in the conference: H. E. Joaquim Chissano, Former Head of State of Mozambique; Prof. Paulo Pinheiro, the Secretary-General’s Independent Expert on Violence against Children; Dr. Yakin Erturk, UN Special Rapparteur on Violence against Women; Ambassador Salamata Sawadogo, Chair, AU Commission on Human Rights and People’s Rights; Mr. Jean Baptiste Zoungrana, Chairperson of the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child; and Prof. Jaap Doek, Chair, of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.

A forthcoming announcement by The African Child Policy Forum will confirm the list of prestigious speakers.

This conference has elicited considerable interest. The conference is largely funded by Plan International and is being organised in partnership with the AU, UNECA, UNICEF, UNFPA, and Save the Children Group.

Prior to the conference, the Forum will produce a poll-based report on current perceptions and experiences of violence against girls in Africa. The outcome of the conference will be a declaration to stop violence against girls in Africa that will be submitted to the United Nations General Assembly and used as a vehicle for campaigning African governments to develop effective policies and programmes to address the problem.

Read the schedule of presenters and topics

ABOUT THE AFRICAN CHILD POLICY FORUM

The African Child Policy Forum is an independent, pan-African advocacy organisation working for the realisation of children’s rights. Founded in 2003, the Forum is headquartered in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Its mission is to contribute towards the development and implementation of effective laws and policies to put African children on the public agenda. To this end, it will provide support where the political will exists and exert pressure where it is absent. The rights and welfare of children are at the heart of our work, in our programmes and our projects. Programmes such as The Children’s Legal Protection Centre, which provides protection and free legal support to abused children, children in high risk situations and those in conflict with the law, is just one example of the many programmes the Forum provides.

The Forum has no political or religious affiliations. While the Forum is cognizant of world thinking and development, it has an African-driven and children-driven agenda. The organisation is on the front lines as it deals with the profound issues affecting the children of Africa. The Forum’s Executive Director is Assefa Bequele, Ph.D., former Special Representative of International Labour Organisation of the United Nations and a member of the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. More information