Zanzibar child protection law scoops international award

ALL SMILES: Zanzibar's Stone Town  Kids

ALL SMILES: Zanzibar’s Stone Town Kids

A well balanced coverage of child abuse and violence against children and promotion of child rights has won Zanzibar’s 2011 Child rights Law German-based World Future Council’s 2015 Future Policy Award.

The legislation which lays the foundation for the establishment of a comprehensive national child protection system to deal with cases of children in need of care and protection beat other 29 policies from various countries around the world.

The Zanzibar children-centered policy was awarded the prize Tuesday in Geneva, Switzerland by the World Future Council, the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and UNICEF during the 133rd IPU Assembly.

The Act reportedly won due to the fact that it advocates for the establishment of district child protection committees, the establishment of Children’s Courts, the designation of Police Gender and Children’s Desks in every Police Station in Zanzibar and the roll out of training to social welfare and frontline justice professionals.

The law was also singled out because it involved children in the drafting process, children were consulted as well as trained on the law and their rights. It gave children a voice in the development of the legislation and resulted in the establishment of over 200 Children’s Councils in the Isles.

Since the enactment of the law Zanzibar has seen favourable and significant shift in social attitudes towards children.

Speaking on the accolade, Asha Abdullah, Principal Secretary of the Zanzibar Ministry of Empowerment, Social, Welfare, Youth, Women and Children said “this is a great honour. The Award will not only raise global awareness of our model of child rights legislation, but also enhance our commitment to its implementation in Zanzibar.”

UNICEF in Tanzania has played a key role in providing the government of Zanzibar with technical and financial support in the development of the Act and continues to provide assistance, with support from the European Union, in working towards bringing the legislation from paper to practice.

Dr. Jama Gulaid, UNICEF Tanzania Country Representative congratulated the government of Zanzibar on receiving the Future Policy Award 2015 saying ‘Hongera Sana, Zanzibar! UNICEF commends the government and people of Zanzibar for the broad consultation on the Act which heightened public awareness of children’s rights. Child protection is drawing attention from decision makers, media and communities in Zanzibar.”

Jakob von Uexkull, Founder and Chair of the World Future Council, said “this prize celebrates policies that help us to do the right thing by creating the right rules. Children are among the most vulnerable group facing a host of the world’s emerging challenges. We need more laws that support a just world and protect the rights of future generations.”