Alusine said he is aware of the good work of the Board in providing legal assistance to the poor and less privileged especially young people. ‘I hope you continue to do more,’ he said. ‘We do not have money to give your organization but we can provide support in other areas.’
He praised the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Hon. Joseph Kamara for providing leadership in promoting the justice delivery system since assuming the office this year.
Hon. Joseph Kamara said he is proud of the fact that the award is coming from young people. ‘Yes, we do receive awards but sometimes it is important to identify the people giving the award and the purpose for which it is given,’ he said. ‘This award is of tremendous significance to us as a Ministry. It means the African youths have come to recognize the contribution we are making towards the justice system in the country.’
He congratulated his co-awardee, the Executive Director of the Legal Aid Board, Ms. Fatmata Claire Carlton-Hanciles who he lauded for winning accolades and recognitions. He said two months ago he was part of a delegation to Canada to showcase the work of the Board, as a result of which the Board has received an invitation to attend the UN general assembly to showcase the work of the Board. He added that the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNDC) will be visiting the country this week to follow-up on the work of the Board.
Hon. Joseph Kamara encouraged the youths to aspire and identify icons in society.
The Executive Director of the Legal Aid Board, Ms. Fatmata Claire Carlton-Hanciles seized the moment to brief representatives of AYCN on the impact her organization is having on the lives of children in conflict with the law. She said the Board is providing legal assistance to all children in juvenile home. ‘We have assigned a lawyer exclusively to juvenile offenders,’ she said.
She further noted that the Board is in the process of launching its Child Protection under the Law programme which is geared towards protecting the rights of children by taking the lead in enforcing the Child Rights Act. She said the Board will work with children’s organizations in implementing the programme. ‘We cannot fully address issues of children if we do not have organizations like yours on board,’ Ms. Carlton-Hanciles said.
She further spoke on the challenges the Board is facing in reintegrating juveniles into mainstream society. She expressed concern at the increase in the rate of child prostitution and the abuses they are subjected to.