General Debate Day of the Committee on the Rights of the Child at the United Nations: BICE-Mali presents its advocacy initiatives to improve the situation of the children whose mothers are incarcerated
In Mali, the children whose parents are incarcerated:
- Are either sent to family members living outside the prison; or
- Live in jail with their parents.
BICE-Mali is mainly working with children living in prison with their mother. It is important to know that the legislation regarding this alarming situation is insufficient in Mali and that, except for Bamako, prisons lack specialized detention and rehabilitation centers for women.
In order to cope with this situation, BICE-Mali has intensified its supporting advocacy efforts to release the child from jail at 4 years old, because at this age, he is more sensitive to the environment where he lives. In any case, prison is not developmentally appropriate to grow up.
BICE-Mali also obtained that pregnant women be removed from prison and taken to the closest health facility when giving birth to their child. This prevents that the birth certificate shows that the baby’s residence is the prison, thus preventing further stigmatization of the child. In Bamako, 1 to 4 years old children are taken care of in a daycare center inside the prison. BICE-Mali, in partnership with COMADE (Malian Coalition of the Right of the Child) is responsible for the daycare functioning expenses.
Despite these actions, challenges are still to be met, especially in terms of food-based programs and health monitoring for children and incarcerated mothers.
As part of the General Debate Day of the Committee on the Rights of the Child at the United Nations dedicated to the children of incarcerated parents, BICE, through BICE-Mali and COMADE, is asking Malian authorities to adopt a law involving an operational framework in order to legally defend the situation of the children of incarcerated mothers. The children must also benefit from a psychological, hygiene, sanitary and food related support from the State. BICE also asks the Committee for the Rights of the Child to be particularly careful to the situation of the children whose mothers are incarcerated when reviewing Mali next periodic report.