Viewpoint by Assefa Bequele and Alex Kamarotos*
ADDIS ABABA (IDN) – Let us begin with the positive. Unlike some years back, children are now very much on the political and public agenda in Africa. Every politician loves to talk about them, and the African Union has adopted a charter to protect them and a mechanism to hold governments accountable for the fulfilment of their rights. Even so, the reality on the ground is sombre and sobering.

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In our world, the annual number of maternal deaths has sustainably declined since 1990. In 2015, an estimated 303,000 women died due to pregnancy and child birth related complications. Of these, Sub-Saharan Africa constitutes 66 percent of the global burden, as some sources indicated.

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Last Wednesday saw thousands of children across South Africa returning to school, with some starting for the first time. Pictures of learners catching up with friends, being assigned teachers and attending their first assemblies filled news feeds. While there were some tears, particularly for those beginning their school careers, the sentiment was an overwhelmingly positive one. The same could not be said for 11-year-old Thabang.

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The African Union has taken several initiatives to demonstrate its commitment to eliminating injustices against women in Africa. The most recent has been a meeting ahead of the African Union (AU) summit scheduled for later this year to highlight the continent's commitment to gender equality.

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January 10, 2018 - Dar es Salaam - The authorities in Tanzania will not charge five pregnant schoolgirls who had reportedly been arrested over the weekend on the orders of a local government administrator.

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January 08, 2018 - For the first time in its history, the self-declared republic of Somaliland has passed a law against rape.

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Picture a faraway, hard-to-reach village, deep in rural Kenya where most families, if they are lucky, live on less than 100 shillings a day. Now picture a young woman in the same village, in her final trimester of pregnancy, battling between making a decision to go and work on her tiny shamba in order to support her family, or walk for 10 kilometres to a health centre for a check-up on what could be a pregnancy complication with severe consequences.

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Addis Ababa, January 5, 2018 - Ethiopia through the Administration for Refugee and Returnees Affairs (ARRA) is working to improve the provision of education to refugees sheltering in camps in the country.

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Children’s legal aid center of the Federal Supreme Court’s child justice project office which has been providing service with African Child Policy Forum’s financial aid continues its service, the Federal Supreme Court of Ethiopia notifies.

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January, 2018 - When Moses Swaray stepped onstage to sing "Amazing Grace" in the auditorium of the Unity Conference Centre in Monrovia, Liberia, the audience, including President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, stood up to applaud; some wiped away tears.

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