The Children’s Act 2016 addresses sexual abuse and exploitation, child marriage, child sacrifice, child labour, child trafficking, institutional abuse of children, female genital mutilation (FGM) and other forms of physical and emotional abuse.
PARENTING| VIOLENCE| RIGHTS
Various Child Rights groups have criticised government for failure to enforce children laws that protect the rights of children enshrined in article 34 of the 1995 Constitution.
Bernard Atiku, the chairperson of the Uganda Parliamentary Forum for Children (UPFC) said, Ugandan children are subjected to various challenges like: child violence, child trafficking, child sacrifice, isolations and denial of basic needs, sexual violence especially to the girl child and child labour among others.
He attributes the challenges to laws that are not implemented and others not in line with the existing circumstances.
“It took the Government almost 10 years to have the Children’s Act amended and to conform to the existing international protocols. However, to date the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development has still not put in place a good regulatory frame work, which would enable various agencies to implement the provisions with in the Act ,” Atiku said on Wednesday.
This was during the commemoration of the Universal Children’s Day at Seven trees in Kololo, a Kampala suburb, organised by United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) and Uganda National NGO Forum (UNNGOF).
The Children’s Act 2016 addresses sexual abuse and exploitation, child marriage, child sacrifice, child labour, child trafficking, institutional abuse of children, female genital mutilation (FGM) and other forms of physical and emotional abuse. It provides for preventive and response services for victims of child abuse and neglect and also provides for mandatory reporting of child abuse by medical practitioners, teachers and social workers /counsellors.
Ayivu MP, Atiku Bernard(in suit) signs an art piece during the World Children’s Day celebrations
The day is celebrated in Uganda and the whole world after the Convention on the Rights of Children (CRC) was enacted in November 20, 1990 where 54 articles in the CRC spell out all rights of children aged 0-18.
Uganda became part of the CRC in 1990 there by assuming the obligation to undertake all appropriate legislative measures for the implementation of the rights recognised in the convention.
Richard Ssewakiryanga the executive director of UNNGOF and one of the facilitators noted that he condemned violence against children adding: “Laws that protect the children are weak and expose children to various challenges like drugs abuse especially alcohol, which causes crisis in raising them.
“Children should work hard in order to avoid being victims of various child injustices, it’s not good for children to go for labour yet they still have to acquire education.” Ssewakiryanga said.
“We should focus on such issues and children should know these are dangers to their wellbeing and it’s important for adults to condemn violence,” stressed Ssewakiryanga.
Children with disabilities
Whereas article 35 of the Constitution provides for rights of the persons with disabilities, children with disabilities are not catered for as far as providing facilities in schools and in their communities accordingly.
Sam Okiring, a specialist teacher at Kampala School for the Physically Handicapped (KSPH) said government has to enforce the laws put in place from grass root level.
“Community still rejects children with disabilities, which deny them a right to education, heath living, socialising and actively participating in children activities. Community leaders have to come on board to help these children to feel included,” he said .
“If these laws are not enforced, then children will still be excluded in society, which affects their social wellbeing,” he concluded.
Brave Kakuru, a pupil with physical disabilities from KSPH noted that he is very excited to have participated actively during this year’s universal child’s day.
“Today is a fantastic day I loved every single bit of it, I was able to contribute and participate alongside other children,” he said.