A call has been made to the government and the civil society organisations to make great strides in the creation of friendly national policies that are aligned to international conventions on children’s rights.
The nation has been experiencing social injustices against children recently with cases of child marriages, child labour, child abuse, gender based violence, hunger, period poverty rising daily thereby hindering the development of children.
Speaking during the commemorations of the Day of the African Child held virtually children aired out the challenges that they are encountering while calling for the government and civil society organisations to help in the uplifting of children’s rights.
“Governments must take affirmative action in uplifting children’s rights. The governments should also ratify and align their constitution to international documents that aim to safeguard children’s rights. The Civil Society should work hand in glove to ensure that cases of abuse and violation of rights are reported to the ACERWC. Children should be informed about their rights so that they participate in keeping them observed and practiced in all spheres of life,” said one child identified as Zviko.
According to one child named Tatenda though children are facing numerous challenges, there is a lot that can be done to try and deal away with these problems.
“This year’s theme, ‘30 years after the adoption of the Charter: accelerate implementation of Agenda 2040 for an Africa fit for children’ emphasizes on the importance of creating and maintaining a safe and conducive environment for children to grow, develop and mature.
“For children to enjoy their rights and pursue their responsibilities, there should be an effective child friendly national legislative, policy and institutional framework that is in place as stated per the aspirations of the Agenda 2040.
“The situation of children in Africa can be improved in many ways. Creation of Safe places where children are free to play and meet as and where children can sit down and talk and share experiences and share dreams and have a common thinking. Children must be free from the impact of conflicts and other disasters or emergency situations. Protection against violence, exploitation, neglect and abuse. Children must also benefit from a child sensitive criminal system,” he said.
“Fighting for children’s right to access sexual and reproductive health services. Addressing unconscious biases and implicit associations that form an unintended and often an invisible barrier to equal opportunity. Funding educational campaigns to curb cultural practices like female genital mutilation and change harmful laws that limit the rights of women and girls and prevent them from achieving their full potential. This can be a preliminary process for change which is inevitable,” added another child identified as Milton.
Speaking in an interview with this reporter Junior Member of Parliament Miles Ncube stated that there is need for the government to provide sanitary wear for the girl child since it is not affordable.
“Challenges facing children include accessibility and affordability of sanitary pads, drug and substance abuse, sexual abuse, bullying, access to basic education.
“I think the Government should ensure sanitary wear is affordable and accessible for each and every girl child regardless of their background. We want sanitary wear to be affordable that an ordinary Grade 5 pupil can afford to buy her sanitary wear with her pocket money.
“As for drug and substance abuse, the government and civil society organisations should do outreach programmes to educate youths about effects of drug abuse and also create more opportunities for the Youths this includes increasing recreational places and providing more projects for the Youths.
“There is also need for the law enforcers to arrest perpetrators or abusers and take victims of abuse seriously. The Government should also increase and revamp Rehabilitation centres for abuse victims who might be traumatized.
“As for basic education, if possible Government schools should be free for all Government schools should be affordable for all,” he said.
Poverty in African states is forcing children to be engaged in child labour which exposes them to economic exploitation since they have little or no understanding of the labour acts .Due to the current lockdown children have been forced to help support their families since most parents lost their jobs so they end up taking parental roles whilst they are still children themselves. Parents are flocking into the diaspora to seek greener pastures in terms of employment so cases of child headed families are on the rise and if parents fail to provide economic support to such families, the children especially the girl child end up being sexually exploited even through sex work.