Respect our children's rights

HARARE - In this day and age, it is shocking that children are still being abused by those they look up to as parents or guardians.

We call upon government, police and all stakeholders to put in place mechanisms to protect our children from abuse.

As reported elsewhere in this paper,  over 3 000 cases of child sexual abuse have been reported to the police in a space of just 10 months. Shocking, to say the least!

This is indeed a worrisome figure that shows that something is wrong with our norms and values as a nation.

As a people, we have discarded our moral values that define us a God-fearing nation where citizens respect everyone regardless of age, gender, ethnicity or religious belief.

For an adult to take advantage of a child’s vulnerability and their inability to protect themselves is an offence justifying the harshest of punishments.  

Police should work hand-in-glove with schools around the country and establish a platform where children can freely report cases not of only sexual abuse, but any form of abuse.

Protection of children’s rights is a serious headache for Zimbabwe, particularly because of the worsening demographic situation and progressive involvement of youngsters in criminal and other underground activities.

Although Zimbabwe has ratified both the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the African Charter on the Rights and the Welfare of the Child, cases of child abuse continue to increase, proof that there is laxity in the enforcement of the conventions.

While the country has committed itself to implementing the provisions of both instruments, we are still failing to address challenges faced by children because of the secretive nature of family lives.

Indeed, it is a difficult task to monitor the enforcement of some of these laws because most children in Zimbabwe are in the custody of their families, and family life is considered to be private.

It is difficult, if not impossible, for outsiders to monitor closely how families are taking care of their children.

As such, it should be everyone’s responsibility to protect children against abuse.

It is not the duty of police and government alone.

Each and every one of us should take steps to ensure that children are protected because we live with them. They are part and parcel of our lives.

Let us make it our responsibility to protect children from monsters lurking around to inflict damage on these innocent souls.


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