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NGOs want Children’s Bill by gov''t withdrawn

By Vision Reporter

Added 20th March 2015 03:36 PM

ACTIVISTS want parliament to instead consider the private members Bill that was tabled by Ayivu County MP Bernard Atiku. Atiku and the Gender ministry presented similar Bills to Parliament

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ACTIVISTS want parliament to instead consider the private members Bill that was tabled by Ayivu County MP Bernard Atiku. Atiku and the Gender ministry presented similar Bills to Parliament

By Nicholas Wassajja

 

NON-government organizations have asked MPs not to consider a Children’s Bill submitted by the Gender ministry.

 

They want parliament to instead consider the private members Bill that was tabled by Ayivu County MP Bernard Atiku. Atiku and the Gender ministry presented similar Bills to Parliament and were both referred to the committee for scrutiny.

 

Led by Uganda Child Rights NGO Network (UCRNN), NGOs argued that if government that failed to table the Bill since 2004, is left to take precedent over the matter, this, apart from infringing on parliament’s independence will also mean an extended fight against child sacrifice.

 

Last month the former Minister for Gender, Labor and Social Development, Mary Karoro Okurut and the Shadow Minister for Youth and Children, Bernard Atiku, both presented the Children Amendment Bill 2015 which seeks to align the provisions of the Children’s Act with existing laws such as stringent regulations on inter-country adoption.

 

The executive director UCRNN, Stella Ayo-Odongo said that parliament should maintain its integrity because it invested in the private members Bill since attempts to amend the act by Uganda Law Reform Commission were futile as government dragged for now 10 years.

 

This was on Thursday during the 13th general assembly of the Uganda national NGO forum at Pope Paul VI memorial hotel.  

 

“Since 2004 when the Bill was first drafted, over 680 children are trafficked annually. Something needs to be done quickly but government has proved reluctant that is why we are not taking any more chances,” Ayo-Odongo explained.

 

In November last year, after Atiku moved a motion for a resolution of Parliament requesting for permission to introduce a Private Members Bill titled, The Children (Amendment) Bill the speaker granted him an extensive leave.   

 

Ayo-Odongo noted that if the debate on constitutional amendments and electoral reforms starts, this will automatically shelve the children’s bill because the general election year is close.   

 

She also said, “Although we so far have 400 signatures appended to the petition, we are more interested in making the public aware of the plight of the child. There is general concern that there are individuals in government exploiting the inter-country adoption provision who are trying to stop the bill.”   

 

The executive director Uganda national NGO forum Richard Nuamanya while urging members to support the petition said that, “all the innocent child being trafficked or subjecting to hard labor wants is a law that can protect him/her and because they don’t care who tables the bill, the time has come for government to stop playing hide and seek.”  

 

Nuamanya added that the time has also come for world leaders and individuals to take action against human inequality, the biting levels of poverty and climate change.

NGOs want Children’s Bill by gov''t withdrawn

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