At close of 5th Islamic Conference of Ministers in Charge of Childhood Adoption of several specialized reference documents in the field of child protection against all violence forms and its necessary mechanisms

Rabat: 22/02/2018

At close of 5th Islamic Conference of Ministers in Charge of Childhood  Adoption of several specialized reference documents in the field of child protection against all violence forms and its necessary mechanisms

At the close if its fifth session today at ISESCO headquarters in Rabat, the Islamic Conference of Ministers in Charge of Childhood adopted many specialized reference documents on child protection against violence and its necessary mechanisms and approved various related reports.

The Conference adopted the main document on “Forms of Violence against Children”, taking into account of the observations of the Conference and highlighting the inherent and indivisible nature of child rights; and the necessity to uphold the basic principles of the child’s best interest in all issues relating to children, and prioritize the groups most prone to violence in programmes and projects.

Moreover, the Conference commended the efforts sustained by all Member States, since their accession to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, to promote children’s issues and secure their best interest  and rights to survival, development and protection from different forms of violence; invited Member States to reinforce these efforts by developing national action plans on countering all forms of violence against children in different settings, while guided by the relevant international, regional and national instruments; and hailed the efforts of civil society organizations in supporting Member States’ governmental institutions in drafting and implementing policies and programmes of childhood promotion and protection from the various forms of violence.

Further, the Conference condemned the practices of the Israeli occupation authorities against Palestinian children in the occupied Palestinian territories; denounced all forms of violence and abuse targeting children; and called upon international organizations and bodies to expose and counter these practices.

By the same token, the Conference denounced the heinous crimes against Syrian children in Eastern Ghouta where hundreds of them have been killed under the merciless bombing and called on the international community to strive to rescue them and stop the ongoing air raids on their homes.

The Conference also condemned the inhuman and brutal practices against the Rohingya children by the Myanmar authorities; called for their return with their families to their country and preservation of their rights and dignity. By the same token, it denounced the brutal practices against the children of India-occupied Kashmir and children in the Armenia-occupied Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh region.

In addition, the Conference stressed the key role of families in caring for children and shielding them against violence, and the measures necessary for upholding and supporting the family institution as a child-care provider;  and called for protecting children from all forms of violence, especially violence against children in service-delivery institutions including schools, care centers, residential homes and safe institutions, and violence exercised against them by armed groups, by providing general health-care, educational and social services, as well as rehabilitation and integration .

In the same vein, the Conference recommended action towards banning all forms of violence against children, including all forms of corporal punishment, harmful traditional practices, and cruel or degrading treatment in all structures and places, be it in the family, educational, judicial or correctional institutions or in workplaces; raising awareness of child rights and non-violence culture through educational curricula and programmes; launching outreach campaigns to sensitize the public opinion, including children themselves, of the harmful impact of violence on children; and promoting non-violence values and culture.

Further, the Conference stressed the necessity to develop safe, practical, effective and accessible mechanisms, through which children, their representatives and others can report violence against children; and inform children of the existence of such mechanisms to file complaints and seek support and advice.

The Conference adopted the Document “Child Labour in the Muslim World and Countermeasures”, taking into consideration the observations of the Conference’s members; and invited Member States which have not yet ratified the ILO’s respective Conventions No. 138 of 1973 on Minimum Age for Admission to Employment, and No. 182 of 1999 on Worst Forms of Child Labor to ratify them and activate their contents.

In addition, the Conference reiterated the commitment to counter child labor by developing national legislations and adapting them to the relevant international laws, and enacting special legislations for countering this phenomenon; and called for developing national developmental policies and strategies that aim to curb poverty and promote education, as being the two main causes of the rapid spread of child labor, especially in the countries experiencing harsh economic conditions.

It also called for promoting the efforts and achievements of civil society organizations and bodies concerned with child protection in Member States, and allowing them access to the enforcement tools of national legislations and international laws and conventions in countering child labor.

Moreover, the Conference called for expanding education, especially primary education in such a way as to accommodate for all students at compulsory school age; develops the educational system as being a developmental issue; take the necessary measures to counter school drop-out; enabling them to benefit from vocational education programmes; devoting serious attention to ensuring fair pay for working children and protecting their income; ensuring employers’ compliance with the laws of the limitation of daily and weekly working hours; and not allowing for or encouraging children’s overtime.

In the same vein, the Conference underlined the importance of developing an oversight body in charge of labor inspection and the organization of sessions for labor inspectors in charge of overseeing the prevention of child labor to train them on the methods and mechanisms of combating the phenomenon, in accordance with the applicable national legislations highlighted; the necessity to raise awareness of the serious impact of armed conflicts on children, leading to their employment and exploitation in these conflicts, especially among displaced and refugee children; and invited conventional and social media to address the issue of child labor and sensitize the public opinion of the physical, psychological and health dangers of child labor and their repercussions on social development.

In addition, the Conference called upon ISESCO, the OIC General Secretariat and relevant specialized institutions to sustain their efforts to promote and protect childhood in Member States and include the programmes and projects on children’s protection and prevention of their labor in their action plans.

The Conference also commended the content of the paper on “Integrated Public Policy for Child Protection in the Kingdom of Morocco (2015-2025) and the National Implementation Programme (2015-2020)”; invited Member States to be acquainted with this leading experience, in the context of bilateral and multilateral cooperation; and lauded the efforts invested by the Government of Kingdom of Morocco, represented by its Ministry of Family, Solidarity, Equality and Social Development, in bringing about major structural reforms to develop strategies and policies pertaining to childhood protection at all levels, and providing the care necessary for child empowerment in such a way as to contribute to the efforts of sustainable development.

Moreover, the Conference adopted the document on “General Framework for Protecting Muslim World Children from Violence”, taking into consideration the observations of the Conference’s members; invited Member States to use for guidance the General Framework for Protecting Muslim World Children from Violence in drafting their policies and developmental action plans on protecting children and safeguarding their rights; and invited ISESCO and the OIC General Secretariat and specialized affiliated bodies to publicize this General Framework, especially among the civil society organizations and bodies working in the field of children welfare and protection of their rights in Member States.

By the same token, it adopted the Report of the Statistical, Economic and Social Research and Training Centre for Islamic Countries (SESRIC) on the State of Children in OIC Member States; thanked SESRIC for preparing this Report; and invited OIC Member States, specialized organizations, and affiliated centers and institutions to activate its contents and translate it into field initiatives, programmes and activities.

Likewise, it adopted the composition of the Bureau of the Fifth Islamic Conference of Ministers in Charge of Childhood as follows: Kingdom of Morocco (Chair), Republic of the Sudan, and Republic of Senegal (Vice-chairs) and Republic of Azerbaijan (Rapporteur).

Thereafter, the Conference took note of the statements and reports of the heads of delegation of Member States and regional and international organizations; and invited them to pursue their efforts to promote childhood issues and provide the necessary support in this connection.

It also welcomed the merging of the sectoral ministerial conferences on marriage institution, family, childhood, welfare, and social security for older persons and people with disabilities in the Islamic world, into one ministerial conference on social affairs in Member States that the OIC General Secretariat and ISESCO will be in charge of holding, in cooperation with the OIC institutions concerned; invited ISESCO to continue its submission of executive reports, field studies and strategic plans pertaining to childhood to the Conference of Ministers in Charge of Social Affairs; and agreed to hold the First Islamic Conference of Ministers in Charge of Social Affairs in the Republic of Turkey in 2019.

In conclusion, the Conference commended the remarkable efforts of ISESCO Director General and his assistants in holding the previous Conference sessions in the best conditions; praised Member States which hosted these sessions and contributed to their success; thanked the competent parties having taken part therein and enriched their outcomes; and invited competent parties in charge of childhood issues in Member States for more consultation, coordination and cooperation with the organizing parties of the Islamic Conference of Ministers in Charge of Social Affairs to highlight childhood issues in the Conference’s resolutions and recommendations.