Human Rights Of Children Are Sacrosanct

By GraceCliffs Obilor

The Day of the African Child commemorates the 16th June 1976 student uprising in Soweto South Africa, where students who marched in protest against apartheid inspired education where brutally murdered. In 1991, the organization of African Unity initiated the Day of the African Child to be on that 16th June. Apart from remembering the students who were brutally murdered in South Africa, we also raise awareness for the condition of the African children and talk about their needs in the society. on this day we discuss the challenges facing the African child.

In the African community, the children have been deprived of many things such as; their rights to participate, right to free and compulsory education, parental guidance and child friendly environment.

We have an increasing number of out of school children. in the sub-saharan Africa, 30 million of the world’s 57 million children are out of school and these out of school children are exposed to more dangers, they are exposed to criminal activities, they are exposed to hard life, they are exposed to Predators.

Education is a vital tool in the lives of these children, any child that is deprived of education is deprived of the right to participate, any child deprived of education is deprived of the right to be heard and seen, without education these children will not explore, they will not perform their duties as children they will not participate in the things going on in the society and make meaningful impact. The African child should have access to compulsory education so that they can be free to express themselves appropriately.

This and other problems facing the African child have hindered them from participating actively and meaningful in the society.

The African child is faced with child molestation, abuse, exploitation and violence. The number of children who are molested and abused in Africa is quite alarming, there are so many children who are being molested and little or nothing is done about it. Child molestation and abuse stands on the way of every child, it reduces their rate of participation and makes them so withdrawn.

Majority of the children who experience violence and exploitation are beaten at any slight provocation by their parents or guardians using every opportunity to hit the child as a tool of correction and this in turn introduces violence to this child, of course a child should be disciplined but it should not be done violently. There are so many ways to discipline a child, violent discipline is not one as this act has a great effect on how they participate in the society, this is known as physical abuse.

The African child is being faced with sexual abuse before they get to 18 years, the children are no more safe they are being hurt by the people who should protect them, these children are being raped and abused not just by strangers but by the people who they trust. According to the American Academy of Paediatrics, about 4 million of child abuse and neglect involving 7 million children are reported each year.

Sexual abuse is when a child cannot consent to an act which violates their sex organs. Exposing a child to pornography is also known as sexual abuse.

The African child should not be neglected, the lack of attention have made it possible for children to be less active, they should be provided with clothing, shelter, food, love, comfort, affection, medical care, education and security.

The African child should not be verbally abused, a lot of people scold their children using inappropriate words in the process of doing this, they harm these children emotionally.

Verbally abusing the children results to low self-esteem, fear and lack of coordination.

There are things we should do to help fight against child Abuse and exploitation.

• We should understand and reduce the risk of abuse for our children, a lot of things which we have regularized can be counted as an abuse in other words we should try as much as we can to understand abuse.

• We should be familiar with the signs of abuse and neglect so that we can easily dictate it.

• We must maintain a good communication line with the children give them the chance to know that they can actually talk to someone when they don’t feel right instead of getting withdrawn.

• Give them the courage to stand up for themselves and always encourage them to count on you for safety.

Child marriage have tampered with the self esteem of the African child. Child marriage is a violation of the child’s right, there are lots of young girls who are married off before they are 18. this violation causes a lot of damage to these young girls psychologically, emotionally and health wise, child marriage have stopped a lot of young girls from furthering their education, they are left with the burden of taking care of a home when they are not emotionally ready to do that.

Today is the international day of the African child and I urge every adult to make sure that the African child is safe from abuse, exploitation, violence and neglect, look out for the children, give them proper attention and protect them.

I urge the government to provide a child-friendly justice system, a system where the child is allowed to get the right judgement, a system where the child is allowed to participate, a system where the child is allowed to be heard.

The parents and guardians should allow these children to be children, give them an enabling environment to participate, give them a listening ear, don’t introduce them to violence, directly or indirectly.

Happy International Day of the African child.

*OBILOR GRACECLIFFS EBUBECHUKWU is the Representative of HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) in South East of Nigeria.

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