By Madiba Singhateh
The Child Protection Alliance CPA, has condemned the act of child scavengers in the country.
The CPA reaction came in the wake of concerns raised regarding the rampant scavenging by children, at the Bakoteh Dumpsite despite the smoldering condition of the site. Children as young as ten years, can be spotted scavenging at the site. According the site supervisor the children come their every day to find something from the rubbish; that he drives them out all the time to no avail because the site does not a have proper security or fencing. The supervisor said the children come from the community of Manjai and environs and believes that some of them even live close to the site.
One of the youngsters scavenging at the site said he goes to school in the morning, but scavenges for scrap at the site in the afternoon; that nobody forces him to scavenge, and does it on his own will. The youngster denied that his parent send him to the site to scavenge but added that he gave them some of the money he gets from the scrap he collects and sell to buyers who are stationed at the site.
CPA Programme Officer Mr. Lamin Fatty said as an NGO, they have two fundamental rights to play, chief among which is to complement Government efforts by engaging on capacity building, sensitization and awareness creation; that they also hold duty bearers to account if they compromise in their performance.
He said the issue of child scavengers at the dumpsite, is a concern to society and it is the responsibility of both the authorities and family heads to tackle with urgency.
Mr. Fatty added that the Government has a supportive role to assist parents by supporting the children and restricting them from such polluted environments.
Mr. Fatty said as they talk of the government, parents must also take the responsibility and make sure children do not go through the hazardous dumpsite to scavenge; that some parents send their children to scavenge for the family’s survival, because of poverty.
He added the parents should know the rights of the children.
It could recalled that the UN Charter on child rights indicate that state parties must recognize the rights of the child to be protected from economic exploitation and from performing any work that is hazardous or that can interfere with the child’s education, physical, mental spiritual, moral and social development.