MASERU — The Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Mphu Ramatlapeng, says government is prepared to effectively implement the provisions of the new Children’s Protection and Welfare Act.
“It is very important to ensure that this law is implemented to the full in line with commitments that the country made to the world in respect to protection and promotion of the rights of children,” Ramatlapeng said during a launching ceremony on Friday.
The law seeks to reform laws that relate to the protection and welfare of children and to provide for incidental matters.
It provides for the rights of children and the responsibility of parents and government for fulfillment.
The Act stipulates children’s rights to education and health, opinion, protection from exploitative labour and torture or degrading treatment.
It also talks about children’s right to engage in social activities, right to identity rights for children with disability and the right to registration.
In addition it points out circumstances that can put a child at risk emotionally, physically, mentally and sexually.
The new law classifies children affected by HIV and Aids, those with disabilities, children in the streets and those without parental care as needing protection.
It protects the inheritance rights of children to their parents’ property after the deaths of their parents.
The Master of The High Court now has the power for administration of the property of children.
The Act provides for adoption and fostering of children to a person above 25 years old and protects them against trafficking and abduction.
There will be no prosecution for criminal offences against children between the ages of 10 and 14.
The new law promotes alternative measures to arresting a child and lines out roles and responsibilities of the police officers, parents and probations officers.
Ramatlapeng said her ministry was reviewing the National Social Welfare policy and integrating it into the national policy for social development in order to deliver a “comprehensive package of social protection services.”
She said a consultant had been identified to assist in developing Adoption Policy and Guidelines which will put pressure on government to speed up the ratification of the international inter-country adoption frame work.
Ramatlapeng called for collaboration from other stakeholders.
“It is the only way to achieve efficiency in the use of limited resources and effectiveness in the delivery of children’s services,” she said.
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