Minister of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare Patricia Kaliati has expressed government’s concern over the increase in cases of defilement and child trafficking in the country.
The minister expressed the sentiments on Tuesday during the commemoration of the 2015 International Literacy Day at Yamba Primary School in the area of Traditional Authority (T/A) Mwaulambia in Chitipa.
The commemoration was held under the theme Literacy, Foundation for Sustainable Societies.
Kaliati said defilement and child trafficking frustrate efforts to exploit the potential of children.
She said defilement, child trafficking and forced early marriage have become worst forms of human rights abuses, especially against the girl-child.
However, Kaliati blamed the increase in cases of abuse of girls’ rights, especially defilement, on lenient penalties meted out by courts on defilement offenders.
The minister commended the Malawi Human Rights Resource Centre (MHRRC) for its commitment in fighting for the rights of women and the girl-child.
In her remarks, MHRRC programme manager Emma Kaliya said her organisation would continue complementing government efforts in promoting the welfare of women and children.
Kaliya, who is also chairperson for Non-Governmental Organisations Gender Coordinating Network (NGO-GCN), however, pleaded with government to engage traditional leaders, who are custodians of culture, to refine or do away with cultural practices that undermine the dignity of the girl-child, such as lobola.