Unicef has urged government and other duty-bearers to ensure that children’s rights are protected.
Unicef Malawi representative Rudolf Schwenk made the call in Dedza on Tuesday at the end of a two-day workshop on child rights protection organised by the Ministry of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare.
He said: “We supported the ministry organise this training. We want to help children raise their voice. Authorities have an important role to play to ensure the rights of children are protected.”
During the workshop, the youth had an opportunity to present their issues to duty-bearers such as parliamentarians and officials from the judiciary, faith groups, the police and the Ministry of Gender.
Issues that dominated the workshop included cases of defilement, early marriages, child labour and child trafficking which the participants said are unchecked in the district.
Thomas Jemitala, a Form Three student at Mchisu Secondary School, said due to lapses in security and compromised traditional leaders, child trafficking, child labour and defilement are spiraling out of control.
“This is because most traditional leaders and the police are compromised. It is unfortunate, but true. We want government to do more to protect us,” he said.
Ministry of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare Principal Secretary Isaac Katopola said government is committed to ensuring that child rights are protected.
He said fulfillment of the pledges relies on commitments made at district and national levels.
The workshop brought together 44 learners from various secondary schools within Dedza to help them understand their rights and create space for engaging duty-bearers on some of the challenges they face.