The Assistant Minister of Local Government and Rural Development in Botswana, Botlogile Tshireletso, said here on Monday that her ministry has noted with great concern that many children in Botswana are exposed to risks that compromise their well-being.
At the official opening of the 4th National Children’s Consultative Forum in Gaborone, Tshireletso remarked that as government they often hear about children who are raped, engaged in employment, exposed to drugs, denied access to educational and health services while some are engaging in dangerous sexual transactions.
The National Children’s Consultative Forum, which will last for at least two days, was established in 2013 to provide children from all corners of Botswana a platform to share knowledge, information, skills and experiences on issues which hinder or enhance their psycho-social and mental wellbeing.
The forum represents voices of children and youth from diverse races, religions, traditions, capabilities and geographic locations.
According to Tshireletso, it is a great milestone that as a member state of both the African Union and the United Nations, Botswana has domesticated the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child and the Convention on the Rights by enacting the Children’s Act of 2009.
The Children’s Consultative Forum is one structure that came about as a result of such a legislation in order to promote the principle of child participation which is at the core of child protection.
Despite all these, some children are still exposed to risks that compromise their well-being, some people are aware of these violations but fail to take action.
Children who are victims are also afraid to report such incidents while some of the parents choose to turn a blind eye for fear of being called busy bodies.
The assistant minister therefore appealed to all the stake holders to assume their roles in child protection by bringing matters of abuse before parents, teachers, social workers, police, nurses and all relevant stakeholders.
She emphasized that failure to report child abuse cases is an offence under the Children’s Act of 2009. Enditem