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20/11/2015 - Sierra Leone - Violations of Children’s Rights have increased since Ebola

(ANS - Freetown) - Today Sierra Leone is a country free from Ebola, but one in which children and young people continue to suffer seriously the consequences of the epidemic. The situation of child protection in the country was difficult even before Ebola, but now, after the epidemic, violations of children's rights have increased.  This can be seen from data published today, 20 November, Universal Children's Rights Day, by the Misiones Salesianas in Madrid.

Today, Sierra Leone is an even more complicated country. 82% of children between 4 and 12 years of age have been victims of violent punishments. Over 70% of children between 5 and 14 have to work - 10,000 of them in the mines - and many of them in places where they are exploited and made work for over 12 hours a day. There are 12,000 children orphaned by Ebola. Child abuse and teenage pregnancy have increased. Hundreds of children have been accused of witchcraft and were blamed for the deaths of their family members ... these are just some of the data contained in the report on the situation of the Right to Protection of Children in Sierra Leone, drawn up by Patricia Rodriguez, Head of Projects for Misiones Salesianas.

The lack of political commitment, family disintegration, loss of values, poverty ... these are some of the triggers of the current situation in Sierra Leone. "It is true that many things have been done to improve and protect children, but with the passage of Ebola Sierra Leone has remained sorely tried and the facilities are very weak," says Ana Munoz, spokesperson for the Salesian organization.

The Salesians in Sierra Leone are working for the prevention and detection of problems, and the care and social reintegration of children and youth at risk. They have a toll-free number to which children can turn, a programme for treatment and rehabilitation of street children, a shelter for girls who are victims of violence, some monitoring programmes, and other programmes for family reunification and preparation for the world of work.  "Protecting the children and young people of Sierra Leone is the way to build a better country and a better future" said the spokesperson.

Published 20/11/2015

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