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Monday, January 30, 2023

Petition to Reject ECOWAS Ruling

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Petition to Reject ECOWAS Ruling

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We can attest to it that the Government of Sierra Leone has made enormous strides to ensure that girls must be allowed to thrive and be supported and allowed to be all they want to become and to achieve all their dreams which is the main reason His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio officially launched the ‘Hands Off Our Girls’ flagship programme of First Lady Fatima Bio, with the theme: “Ending Child Marriage and Reducing Teenage Pregnancy to Empower Women”.
We note that the Government of Sierra Leone has established separate schools for pregnant girls with four taught subjects operating three days a week and in addition they now allow pregnant girls to take public examination. The Government has also established a separate Ministry of Gender and Children Affairs with a Directorate of reducing teenage pregnancy in the country.
We are of the strong view that if the Government of Sierra Leone implements the verdict of the ECOWAS Court by allowing pregnant school girls into the mainstream public schools it will halt the progress made so far in restoring the security and dignity of girls. It will also render the Hands off our girls’ initiative by the First Lady Fatima Bio launched by His Excellency the President Julius Maada Bio futile. In attendance were five African First Ladies from Ghana, The Gambia, Liberia, Chad and Niger, at the Bintumani Conference Centre, Freetown, on Friday 14 December 2018.

Furthermore, it will reduce the strives made by the President to establish a separate Ministry of Gender and Children Affairs with full Directorate of ending teenage pregnancy.
There is no way you can eliminate teenage pregnancy with pregnant girls in the main stream schools. Allowing these kids in the main stream school will just give them a license that there is nothing wrong with being pregnant as you will still be allow to attend school.

As one senior judge put it, “How will you feel to wake up in the Morning and see 10 pregnant girls clad in their Convent or Annie Walsh or FSSG school uniform in class?”
In as much as we recognized their right we also have to think of the right of others.
In Sierra Leone we have set the bar high with our religious Moral and ethical values in all we do and above all our environment is not conducive for such a law to be implemented, as our parents will not have a say to direct the girls.
As one parent put it “Then it is needless to tell your daughter that she should maintain her chastity and not destroy her schooling”.

To this end, we therefore call on the Government of Sierra Leone not to implement the ruling of the ECOWAS Court ordering us to allow pregnant school girls in mainstream Schools.

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