A call on the community to fight violence against children

By Magdalena Olelemakata and Grace Kambarage

Children in Tanzania are facing psychological, sexual and emotional torture as a result of acts of abuse and neglect. The perpetrators of these actions are mainly parents, close relatives and neighbours. This violence against children is a major threat to national development as well as the community and we are all responsible in ensuring that the rights of children are not violated.

The violation of children is growing with an increase of street children, most of them engaging in drug use, early pregnancies in girls who have been raped, and diseases such as HIV/AIDS. This violation also brings on psychological, sexual and emotional problems which are very dangerous to their development and the nation at large.

According to a national survey commissioned by UNICEF in 2009, 3739 female and males aged 13 to 24 experience sexual, physical and emotional violence. The trend of violation of children’s rights are increasing despite the Law of the Child Act being enacted in 2009. This is due to improper ministry arrangements. For instance, children’s affairs is currently being handled by three different ministries, none of which focus solely on their responsibility to protect children.

This situation of child abuse in this country is still very challenging. According to Legal and Human Rights Centre’s 2012 Human Rights Report, various regions had a considerable number of brutality which were captured against children. For example, in Mpwapwa, a district court convicted a mother to five years imprisonment for deliberately causing badly harm to her own  son.

Mariam Juma, a mother of three children living at Manzese in Dar es Salaam said that children themselves are the ones forcing the parents to punish them and they do so in order to discipline them. But she also added that parents should not over punish their children in spite of what they have done because the are still their children and also it is the violation of their rights.

Deogratius Samwel, had this to say “strict laws should be enacted and implemented to those who violate the rights of the children. It should be mandatory to follow up on the cases concerning violence against children and severe punishment should be given to those who commit such actions.”

He also said that the Law of the Child Act should give power to the courts to impose punishment for any person found guilty under the Act. Violence against children should not only be prohibited under the Law of the Child Act, but rather the whole of people in society should be responsible to fight against violation of children rights.

Since children are part of the community, we are all responsible of protecting them from neglect, discrimination, violence, abuse, exposure to physical and moral hazard and oppression. The community should provide guidance, care, assistance and maintenance for the child and assurance of the child’s survival and development.

Magdalena’s goal is to focus her career in journalism to fight for the rights of grassroots initiatives and serve the community for national development.

Grace’s goal is to become a successful journalist who helps the community in fighting for their rights, and national development at large.

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