The Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development is worried about the high number of cases of violation of children’s rights.
“It is quite disheartening that in spite of the structures, resources, laws, policies and programmes for the protection of children, they are still exposed to risks such as neglect, sexual abuse, child marriages, trafficking drug and substance use as well as other perils,” he said.
Pule said the violations happen in homes, schools, churches and other places where children are supposed to be at their safest, hence mostly go unreported.
He added that in some instances the matters are reported, but later withdrawn before they reach the courts.
In acknowledging the sorry state of affairs, Pule implored the forum to reflect on the amount of potential that they have lost and are yet to lose when they continue to be passive.
On other issues still related to children, he said the national situational analysis on orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) 2019 has revealed that some orphans are still affected by poverty despite government’s provision of monthly food rations and other necessities to them.
Furthermore, he said some orphans do not have birth certificates making it difficult for them to register for national registration later in their lives and to be able to access basic services.
He, however, said children have a duty to empower themselves and their peers with the knowledge and skills that they acquire in the leadership journey.
Pule also said the Children’s Consultative Forum (CCF) validates government’s duty to engage children in developing child-sensitive programmes, laws and policies.
He reminded the attendants that the Children’s Act of 2009 provides the much-needed balance acknowledging that rights come with responsibilities and that parents/guardians are key in promoting responsible enjoyment of rights.
“To this end, the act spells out the rights and obligations of different duty bearers in child development and protection, including the right holders themselves. Each one of all have a role to play in ensuring that every child is protected, nurtured and accorded all opportunities so that they can reach all their full potential,” he added.