The attorney general and secretary of state for Justice, Marie Saine-Firdaus, has reaffirmed government’s commitment to exhaust all possibilities within the ambit of its powers to ensure that children are protected from sex perverts and exploiters.
Delivering a statement during the official opening ceremony of a four-day children’s summer camp on life skills at the Baobab Lodge in Bijilo, the Justice SoS point out that the government will stringently apply the provisions of the Children’s Act 2005 and other laws that protect children.
"We will leave no stone unturned in ensuring that perpetrators are brought to justice and be punished accordingly. Our children remain our priority and their future, the focus of our development efforts. Anyone who wants to derail our goal for our children will have to face the full force of the law. Hardly, a day passes by without one reading in the newspapers about one form of abuse, exploitation or violence perpetrated against a child in one part of the country or the other," the Justice SoS Firdaus stated, with deep concern.
She also expressed concerns about juveniles in conflict with the law, saying that this trend is disturbing.
"Sometimes betrayal of children’s trust even goes deeper as it is often the adults entrusted with the case and the protection of children who perpetrate and permit this intolerable abuse or exploitation; that is adults who use their positions, power, prestige and authority to sexually abuse and exploit children. Children who are abused or exploited find their world upside down as it makes enemies out of the very people children look up to for protection. Their self esteem, confidence and trust are undermined and dented," said the attorney general.
SoS Firdaus, however, urged children to be responsible and law-abiding citizens, as the future of the country depends on their attitude.
She used the opportunity to praise President Alhaji Yahya Jammeh for his dynamic and inspiring leadership to the fulfillment of the rights of children and their protection from abuse, exploitation and violence.
For his part, the chief of Defence Staff, Major General Lang Tombong Tamba, expressed delight to be associated with the camping. Major Gen Tamba informed the gathering that they have created a new unit in the Gambia Armed Forces called the Child Protection Unit, which deals with the protection and safeguarding of children from all forms of abuse.
"You as children have an important role to play in national development, as you have rights which go along with responsibilities," he said.
CDS Tamba expressed his institution’s continued readiness to work closely with the Child Protection Alliance (CPA) for the realisation of its objectives in the service of children.
Adama Bah, treasurer and board member of CPA, expressed similar sentiments. He urged children to be respectful, noting that through partnership much can be achieved.
He called on the 30 participants in the camping to share their experiences with their colleagues and thanked the CPA for organising the camping.
Modou Secka, the newly elected president of the Voice of the Young, the child wing of CPA, delivered the welcome remarks.