Government through the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development has cancelled the national commemoratory events for the Day of the African Child, which was due on 16th June, 2020 and International Youth Day, which falls on 12th August 2020.
The decision follows the current health guidelines barring mass gatherings to deter the spread of the CORONAVIRUS.
The minister for youth and children affairs Florence Nakiwala Kiyingi told the press in Kampala this morning, that the decision follows a review and due consideration of the safety of Ugandans.
“The Ministry would however like to encourage District Local Governments and other stakeholders to observe the Days through activities that don’t necessitate gathering of people in one place like radio and TV talk shows, online conferences and newspaper supplements, among others” she noted.
The Day of the African Child was instituted in memory of the thousands of black school children who on June 16th, 1976 marched through the streets of Soweto in Apartheid South Africa protesting the poor quality of their education and demanding their right to be taught in their own language. The security forces responded by shooting dead more than one hundred innocent people and injuring over one thousand others.
In 1991, the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the then Organisation of the African Unity (OAU) now the African Union (AU), instituted the Day of the African Child to honour the courage of the children that got out to demand for their rights.
The day’s commemoration, therefore, calls for a serious introspection and commitment towards addressing the numerous challenges facing children across the African continent. Today, the day draws attention to the plight of many Ugandan children who die due to curable and preventable diseases and those who continue to suffer and die due to horrendous acts of violence against children including physical and sexual violence, harmful practices like Female Genital Mutilation and child marriage to mention but a few.
Meanwhile, the International Youth Day (IYD) is commemorated globally every year on 12 August to recognize efforts of the youth in enhancing the development agenda. It serves as an annual celebration of the role of young women and men as essential partners in change and is an opportunity to raise awareness of the challenges and problems facing the world’s young people.
Now, aware of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent guidelines provided by the World Health Organisation and H.E, the President of the Republic of Uganda, for the Day of the African Child, the Hon. Minister will address the nation while on the International Youth Day, H.E the President will deliver national address.