27.06.2016 : BONELA CALLS ON RELEVANT AUTHORITIES TO ACCOUNT: MONTSAMAISA SEXUAL VIOLENCE CASE
On the 7th of June 2016, BONELA learnt about the incident that occurred at Montsamaisa CJSS where a child who-while on a science fair trip and sleeping unsupervised in a classroom-was raped. This incident was confirmed by Kutlwano Police Station. To date, there hasn’t been any update from the Police, Ministry of Education, Teachers Union and other duty bearers regarding the case.
Firstly, BONELA condemns the sexual abuse of children. Our particular interest in this issue lies in our work on the promotion and protection of children’s rights. It is in line with this work that we note that the teacher(s) who traveled with the children were effectively their guardians; and by leaving them to sleep unsupervised acted negligently thereby failing to ensure the best interests of the child. This is where Section 5 of the 2009 Children’s Act unequivocally states that “the best interests of the child are paramount”. In this case, the negligence led to the sexual assault of a child. These actions by the teacher(s) are also contrary to section 25(1) of the Act which states that children have the right to be protected from sexual abuse, and this right is to be upheld by teacher(s) when the child was in their care.
Secondly, in light of this and other recent events and ensuing discussions around the sexual abuse of children, BONELA calls on the Ministry of Education to diligently ensure that children within their care are not subject to any kind of abuse. The Children’s Act (section 25(4)) specifically calls on the Minister or Education to “devise or cause to be devised programmes to prevent the sexual exploitation of children”. BONELA therefore urges the Minister to take steps to ensure that such programmes are put in place and so stop predatory behavior towards children.
BONELA also encourages the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development to take the lead as the custodian of children and the Children’s Act to ensure that no loopholes exist where children could be subject to abuse.
Lastly, we implore the Department of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to improve the conviction rate of perpetrators of sexual and other abuse against children. The Children’s Act details various penalties for various abuses against children so the DPP needs to apply these penalties so as to demonstrate that there penalties are real and in order to curb further child exploitation.
The government should approach the protection and promotion of children’s rights as a unit thereby playing a role in securing their futures and the future of this country.
For more information please contact:
Cindy Kelemi : BONELA Executive Director firstname.lastname@example.org +267 393 25 16
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