African Press Association

SADC challenged to end violence against children

World Vision Southern African interim leader, Jean-Claude Mukadi.IMAGE : GIFT NDOLWANE

JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – CHILD rights advocates have challenged Southern African governments to end violence against children.
The call is in line with World Vision’s five-year campaign entitled, “It takes a world to end violence against children.”
The recent Southern Africa regional launch in Johannesburg, South Africa
forms part of World Vision’s rollout of the organisation’s global campaign to end brutality against children.
The campaign comes against the backdrop of prevalent forms of violence against children in the region, as well as the rest of the continent.
The violations include child labour, child marriage, sexual and physical violence, female genital mutilation and vulnerability caused by internal displacement.
African Union Goodwill Ambassador for Ending Child Marriage, Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda, emphasised the need for governments to draft and implement legal mechanisms to tackle violence against children.
“We need quality laws and policies that can prevent violence against children, protect children who have experienced exploitation and violence; and those that can provide mitigation for those who are going through recovery,” Gumbonzvanda said.
Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Parliamentary Forum regional chair for women’s caucus, Dr Jessie Kabwila, implored Southern African governments to implement pro-child protection policies in line with SADC proposals.
“The model law of ending child marriages was moved by SADC Parliamentary Forum. Can we now have a timeline of when all the countries are going to be compliant, in the region?” she implored delegates.
In Southern Africa, nearly 40 per cent of women are married by the age of 18, and 10 percent by age 15.
Further, a recent study illustrated that one in three children in South Africa are victims of sexual violence and physical abuse before they reach the age of 18.
Furthermore, more than 10 percent and 15 percent report cases of neglect and emotional abuse respectively.
World Vision Southern African interim regional leader, Jean-Claude Mukadi,said the organisation’s campaign to end violence against children stemmed from the disturbing trends globally.
Her Majesty the Queen of Lesotho, Masenate Mohato Seeiso, who was the Guest of honour, said children were a treasure and the future.
“Children, therefore need to be protected and taken good care of. Violence against children should be a taboo,” Seeiso said.
In the Southern countries where World Vision operates, Lesotho, Malawi,Mozambique and Zambia will tackle child marriages.
Swaziland and Zimbabwe will fight sexual violence, the Democratic Republic of Congo will contribute towards combating child labour while South Africa will wrestle sexual and physical violence.
– CAJ News