The ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development has cancelled national commemoratory events for the Day of the African Child, which was due on June 16th and International Youth Day, which falls on August 12th.
According the state minister Florence Nakiwala Kiyingi, this is due to the prevailing health regulations barring mass gatherings to deter the spread of the CORONAVIRUS.
She says the decision follows a review and the consideration of the safety of Ugandans.
The ministry however encourages District Local Governments and other stakeholders to observe the days through activities that don’t necessitate gathering of people in one place like radio and TV talk shows, online conferences and newspaper supplements, among others.
The Day of the African Child was instituted by the African Union in memory of the thousands of black school children who on June 16th, 1976 marched through the streets of Soweto in Apartheid South Africa protesting the poor quality of their education and demanding their right to be taught in their own language.
The security forces responded by shooting dead more than one hundred innocent people and injuring over one thousand others.
Today, the day draws attention to the plight of many Ugandan children who die due to curable and preventable diseases and those who continue to suffer and die due to horrendous acts of violence against children including physical and sexual violence, harmful practices like Female Genital Mutilation and child marriage to mention but a few.
The International Youth Day, on the other hand, is commemorated globally every year on 12 August to recognize efforts of the youth in enhancing the development agenda.
It serves as an annual celebration of the role of young women and men as essential partners in change and is an opportunity to raise awareness of the challenges and problems facing the world’s young people.