National Children’s Day: The CNDH remembers the “wards of the nation” of Al-Haouz

National Children’s Day: The CNDH remembers the “wards of the nation” of Al-Haouz
National Children’s Day: The CNDH remembers the “wards of the nation” of Al-Haouz

This recommendation was expressed during a meeting held Friday at the headquarters of the CNDH in Rabat, during which the Advice unveiled its recommendations based on its observations of the digital space and its field visits to the Al Haouz region, in a report titled “ Protection of children in the context of the earthquake of September 8, 2023“.

The Council underlined the importance of ensuring respect for the principle of children’s participation. To this end, several children from Rabat expressed their compassion towards the children of Al Haouz, victims of the earthquake. However, the latter were not present during the disclosure of the CNDH’s recommendations, where they could have directly expressed their suffering and concerns. During the presentation of the conclusions and recommendations on the situation of children affected by the Al Haouz earthquake, the Council called for the development of a specific guide for the management of natural disasters in child protection centers , as well as the acceleration of the adoption of a specific law governing these centers.

In connection with National Children’s Day, celebrated on May 25 each year, the Advice particularly insisted on the need to place the best interests of the child at the heart of the interventions of public authorities. And stressed the importance of taking into account all dimensions related to prevention and mitigation of potential impacts to protect children from risks in the event of displacement from their original environment.

The Council’s recommendations cover the legal, procedural and convergent dimensions of public policies aimed at children. They aim to strengthen proactivity and resilience in the face of disasters, promote the principle of child participation and create a digital environment limiting misinformation. Likewise, the conclusions and recommendations revolve around children’s rights in the digital space and beyond, highlighting the protection of children’s rights in its three dimensions; normative, procedural and axiological. They include priority directions of CNDH in terms of surveillance, monitoring and recourse, in normal times as well as in times of crisis.

Furthermore, the CNDH noted a trend of posting photos of children on news sites and social media, compromising their privacy. The Council found that children were frequently represented in the digital content observed, without being given the opportunity to speak out about their needs or share their opinions on the impact of the earthquake on their rights. But he welcomed several digital initiatives taking into account the specific needs of children and encouraging solidarity actions, such as the construction of spaces dedicated to children and support by social workers and volunteers. However, the Council regretted that children’s rights to participation and expression are often neglected in the digital space, which contributes to a stereotypical view of children as mere subjects of attention rather than as main actors. and rights holders.

The report also found that few newspapers and media articles offered children the opportunity to express themselves. Only 20% of the articles monitored addressed issues related to childhood.

The Council reiterated a previous recommendation of its national redress mechanism for child victims of child rights violations, aiming to place children and their concerns at the heart of media and journalism systems and policies in Morocco. And stressed that the digital space and social media platforms are appropriate channels to listen to the opinions of children and give the necessary importance to their points of view. As he also drew attention to issues of sexual harassment and abuse and child exploitation, revealing that he observed several contents containing allegations of sexual harassment against girls in the earthquake-affected areas. He stressed that spreading unverified accusations can damage the reputations of people who might be innocent.

The Council welcomed the considerable commitment of civil actors in the fight against attempts to exploit children. During its field visits, no exploitation of children, whether economic or sexual, was observed. The report finally addresses integrated child protection, the approach based on children’s rights in disaster response, the management of child protection centers in times of crisis, alignment with international standards, the pursuit of the right to education in affected areas and communication with children for their access to appropriate information while protecting their privacy.

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