Statement on the Day of the African Child

Heal Zimbabwe joins the nation and the rest of Africa in commemorating the Day of the African Child. The day is commemorated every year on the 16th of June. It was set aside to remember the young people of South Africa who were massacred in Soweto in 1976 for protesting against apartheid system of education. This year’s commemorations are being held under the theme, “Eliminating Harmful Practices Affecting Children: Progress on Policy and Practice since 2013.”

Heal Zimbabwe recognizes the importance of the Day of the African Child as a day meant to amplify calls on the need to promote children’s rights and welfare issues. The theme for this year is a call to African Governments to create an environment that is safe and guarantees the protection of children and eliminates any harmful practice affecting children by evaluating policies and practices that seek to protect the African child from any harmful practice.

For Zimbabwe, this year’s occasion of the Day of the African Child offers an opportunity to evaluate progress made in ensuring that children are protected from any form of abuse. Section 19 of the Constitution provides for children’s rights where every child is to be, “protected from maltreatment, neglect or any form of abuse and have access to appropriate education and training”. This form of abuse that children must be protected from includes drug abuse and political violence. Past episodes of political violence, particularly Gukurahundi and the 2008 elections left several children displaced, orphaned and vulnerable after their parents/guardians were attacked. This robbed the children of bread winners and better education, health and shelter.

On the occasion of the Day of the African Child, Heal Zimbabwe implores the Government of Zimbabwe to adopt policies and measures that ensure that every child is protected from any form of abuse. This involves instituting stiff penalties for individuals who abuse children. Added to this, Children must also be protected from harmful cultural practices, exploitation and all forms of abuse such as child marriages.

Source: Heal Zimbabwe

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