THE Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare has issued a warning to members of the public that they are mandated by law to report cases of abuse to relevant authorities if they suspect any violation of the rights of a child.
The warning was issued in the wake of reports that a young girl was a fortnight ago beaten to death by a man who lived in the same house that she did, bere burning her body and dumping it.
In a statement, Doreen Sioka, Minister of Gender Equality and Child Welfare, stated that Namibia has enacted the Child Care and Protection Act, 2015 (Act 3 of 2015) which provides that every person with parental responsibilities and rights towards a child and any other person legally responsible for a child has the duty to ensure that the best interest of the child is their paramount concern at all times.
She further stated that parents or guardians should protect their children from neglect, discrimination, violence, abuse and harm; and ensure that in the temporary absence of a parent or caregiver, the child is cared for by a competent person.
Sioka stated that the Child Care and Protection Act mandates stakeholders and community members to report cases to relevant authorities if they suspect any violation of the rights of a child.
“We condemn the killing and burning of the body of the 10-year-old girl, which bears the marks of cruelty and disregard for human life. These crimes were reported to have been perpetrated by loved ones, the very ones that were supposed to be the epitome of protection. This goes to show that we all need to continue shining the spotlight on issues of violence against children, for we as a nation cannot be silent anymore. There is a need to create awareness in our communities and highlight issues surrounding child abuse, violence against children and exploitation,” Sioka said.
She further condemned the six rape cases that occurred in Namibia over the past weekend.
Sioka stated that the cases which involved 5 children between the ages of 6 and 10, and that of a 44-year-old woman, are deplorable and a sign that urgent and concerted action is needed to make sure that girls and women in Namibia can feel and be safe at home, on the streets or wherever they may find themselves.
“It is disheartening to note that the recent wave of sexual violence comes short on the heels of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence (25 November to 10 December 2019), commemorated under the theme, “Orange the World: Generation Equality Stands against Rape!” We express our heartfelt sympathy with the families of the young girls and share hopes that they would fully recover from such barbaric and horrendous acts of violence,” Sioka said.