Gender equality and child welfare minister, Doreen Sioka says there is a need to create awareness to highlight issues surrounding child abuse, violence against children and exploitation in light of a recent incident in which a child was murdered and her body burnt.
“This goes to show that we all need to continue shining the spotlight on issues of violence against children, for we as a nation cannot be silent anymore,” she said.
Sioka made the remarks in a press statement on Friday were she strongly condemned the six rape cases that occurred in Namibia over the past weekend. The cases involved five children between the ages of six and 10, along with that of a 44-year-old woman, she said this was appalling and a sign that urgent and concerted action is needed to make sure that girls and women in Namibia can feel and be safe at home as well as on the streets or wherever they may find themselves.
“It is disheartening to note that the recent wave of sexual violence comes short on the heels of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence (25 November to 10 December 2019).
“We express our heartfelt sympathy with the families of the young girls and share hopes that they would fully recover from such barbaric and horrendous acts of violence,” she added.
Sioka also condemned the recent killing and burning of the body of a girl last week in Windhoek.
“It bears the marks of cruelty and disregard for human life. These crimes were reported to have been perpetrated by loved ones, the very ones that were supposed to be the epitome of protection,” she said.
Namibia has ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC) and Namibia is committed to fulfil all obligations towards the well-being of children as stipulated in the above-mentioned treaties.
Of late, Namibia has also enacted the Child Care and Protection Act, 2015 (Act 3 of 2015) which provides that every person with parental responsibilities and rights towards a child and any other person legally responsible for a child have the duty to ensure that the best interest of the child are their paramount concern at all times as well as protect the child from neglect, discrimination, violence, abuse and harm in addition to ensuring that in the temporary absence of a parent or care giver, the child is cared for by a competent person.
The Child Care and Protection Act, 2015 (Act 3 of 2015) also mandates stakeholders and community members to report cases to relevant authorities if they suspect any violation of the rights of a child.
“The ministry is herewith appealing to the nation not to leave young children unattended, to raise awareness among children about their rights not to be touched by anyone when they feel uncomfortable, to educate them about the dangers of fire, sexual abuse and swimming that may lead to loss of life,” she noted.
“Women and children’s rights are in no way not less than those of any other citizens. Therefore, they should not only feel safe within the confines of their homes, but also in public spaces. It is time to speak out against abuse and take a zero-tolerance stance. Together, we shall do a lot to inform, educate and prevent child abuse in Namibia. Let us all join hands now,” she empahsied.
2020-02-04 07:24:22 | 17 days ago