Civil society organisations and child rights activists have called on government and the public to act on rising cases of child abuse in the country.
Speaking during a press conference on Wednesday in Lilongwe, the activists said the rising cases of child abuse require quick action to stop the vice.
Eye of the Child’s acting executive director Memory Chisenga said child protection laws need to be enforced for children to enjoy their rights as provided for in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
She said: “Children in the country are continuously facing abuse. They are being defiled, sodomised, sexually harassed, physically abused, trafficked, and neglected every day.
“They are not safe on the streets, at school and even at home. As activists we can no longer stand by and watch the children suffer.”
People Serving Girls at Risk executive director Caleb Ng’ombo urged government to speed up trials of all child abuse cases.
“The government must get serious with child protection in the country, especially when it comes to prosecuting child sexual abuse cases,” he said.
In an interview, Ministry of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare training officer Fred Simwaka said the ministry in collaboration with the Judiciary and the Malawi Police Service have been building capacities of magistrates and prosecutors to effectively handle child abuse cases.
However, he admitted that lack of awareness at the community level also affects the delivery of justice.
Malawi is a signatory of several international conventions and treaties that safeguard the lives of children, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child.