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NGO hails child age amendment

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One of the child rights Non- Governmental Organisations (NGOs), Save the Children, has hailed Parliament for passing a Constitutional Amendment Bill that has raised the age at which one can be recognised as a child from 16 to 18 years.

On Tuesday, Parliament passed the bill so that the Constitution is in tandem with the Child Care, Protection and Justice Act which recognises a child as someone who is below the age of 18 years.

During a press briefing in Lilongwe yesterday, Save the Children Country Director, Tina Yu, said children are the hope for Malawi’s future and that once assented to, the new law will contribute to the development of the country.

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She also observed that despite several interventions to protect the rights of children, violations continue to manifest in many different ways.

“Thousands of children are still getting married, bearing children, living with hunger, homeless, suffer sexual violence, physical abuse, forced labour and they face many other risks.

“Millions of children are being left behind and denied the opportunity to survive and fulfil their potential. Our vision remains as urgent and relevant as ever before: ‘A world in which every child attains the right to survival, protection, development and participation,’” Yu said.

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She added that Save the Children together with other stakeholders will ensure the change in the Constitution is implemented so that it ultimately benefits the children of Malawi.

“Parents, traditional leaders, the children themselves and several other stakeholders need to be aware of this development so that Malawian children are protected. This means holding government accountable and making sure funds are available for different activities that should support the implementation of the new law,” Yu said.

Meanwhile, Save the Children has said that it expects that President Peter Mutharika will assent to the bill so that it becomes an Act of Parliament.

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