Day of the African Child: “We must ensure the rights of Burkinabe children are respected"
By Wendyam Micheline Kaboré, Executive Director of IPBF
Burkina Faso is a French-speaking West African country with a population of over 20 million: 51.7% are women and 48.3% men. The population is predominantly young with 45.3% under 15 years old, 64.2% under 24 years old and 77.9% under 35 years old.
On the occasion of International Day of the African Child, IPBF wishes to take this opportunity to make a strong appeal to international human rights movements, development actors, and Burkinabe leaders.
Combined with the health and food crises, the impact of the ongoing security crisis in Burkina Faso since 2015 has forced millions of people, women, girls and children in particular, to flee their homes. These internally displaced persons (IDPs) find themselves in critical situations at the reception sites, faced with a number of overriding difficulties. Despite the basic needs of survival, the most vulnerable groups, notably women and children – especially girls – are faced with yet more challenges: school dropout, forced marriage, domestic violence, etc.
Apart from the security issue, the main areas of concern are health and education. We are observing, helpless, an upsurge in child labour: girls, as well as boys are being exploited at the sites of artisanal mines. In spite of the diseases they contract, these children are exposed to violence in all its forms. And most of the girls not working at the artisanal mining sites end up in the city looking for work. These minors end up entrusted to families or commercial drinking establishments where they are exposed to sex, drugs and physical violence from an early age.
In addition to child labour, these girls suffer other ills that were previously reduced by their presence in the school system, namely excision, early marriage and, in particular, gender-based and sexual violence. Rape, death from abuse, and lifelong stigma are the daily fate of thousands of children. Statistics collected by the National Council for Emergency Relief and Rehabilitation (CONASUR) give a total of 1,481,701 IDPs as of 31 October 2021, of which 906,963 are children and 333,244 are women.
All children have the right to education, to health and to a fulfilling life, and respect for the rights of the child is the responsibility of every society and every people. In this regard, Burkina Faso ratified the International Convention on the Rights of the Child on 23 July 1990. It should further be noted that Burkina Faso's constitution recognizes the right to health and child protection.
We are therefore calling on the financial and technical partners, development actors and, especially, our leaders to be more committed and to take action to ensure adequate protection of Burkina Faso’s children. We have ratified legislative texts and now we must ensure that the rights of Burkinabe children are respected.
For more information on Burkina Faso and children's rights, see:
Protecting Girls' Right to Education: Data-Driven Advocacy in Burkina Faso
Leveraging Data to Strengthen Girls' Education in Emergencies