The Executive Director of the Uganda Child Rights NGO Network Damon Wamara, says that NGOs have played an important role in protecting and promoting children's rights, but more needs to be done.
The Ministry of Gender, Labor, and Social Development has called upon parents to take seriously and implement their parenting role. While representing the ministry’s Permanent Secretary
at the annual child rights symposium at Silver Springs Bugoloobi, Franco
Tollea, the Assistant Commissioner for Children Affairs, said the government has
played its role, providing free education, implementing poverty eradication
programs, and enacting laws and policies to promote and protect children
He, however, says that parents who are the
primary custodians of the children should also embrace their role to nurture
and protect their children. He says if parents played their role like the government has, there would be no need for Civil Society Organizations
advocating for the promotion and protection of children's rights.
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Children in Uganda are exposed to numerous forms of abuse including child labor, sexual abuse,
physical abuse, and emotional abuse among others. Some of the factors identified for the vice are
poverty, lack of respect for the law, superstitions, and parental negligence.
According to the 2022 annual Police Crimes report, a total of 12,580 cases of
Defilement were reported to Police in 2022. The Ministry of
Gender receives over 300 reports daily through its Sauti 116 helpline.
Assistant Commissioner Tollea says that the majority of the cases pertain to physical
abuse, followed by sexual abuse.
The abuse is often propagated by parents,
guardians, and close people responsible for the welfare of the children. Tollea says that if parents learned how to raise their children well, the best ways to instill discipline and protect them from people who could abuse them then the cases would go down.
He disregarded the excuse of poverty that keeps parents working and away from their children and sometimes subjecting their children to child labor saying that as parents make efforts to improve their financial status, they can as well protect their children and offer them a good child, violence-free and with an environment for proper growth.
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Hope Wambi from Raising Voices acknowledges the big role parents need to play to promote and
protect the rights of children. She says parents should protect their children even from themselves by restricting their conversation about financial struggles to themselves such that children don't suffer emotionally perceiving themselves as a burden to the parents.
She further urged parents to desist from
projecting anger from partners to children, a practice that leads to physical and emotional torture of children. As the festive season draws closer, and children take their holidays from school, Wambi also urged parents to protect their children from the people in their homes including cousins, uncles, workers, and all who have been reported to sexually abuse children. She says that parents should use the season to bond with their children, and expose them to basic life skills instead of sending them to relatives in homes where they cannot guarantee their security.
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Director of the Uganda Child Rights NGO Network Damon Wamara, says that NGOs
have played an important role in protecting and promoting children's rights,
but more needs to be done. He says advocates of children's rights shouldn't shy
away from the challenges such as poor parenting, poverty, discrimination, and limited
funding by the government among others which ultimately affect children.
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UNICEF, there are over 20 percent of children trapped in child labor globally,
while 31 percent and 20 percent of children live in extreme poverty in Africa
and Uganda respectively. It is further
recorded that in Uganda 38 percent of children are subjected to child labor
where they are not only burdened with work but often paid less than what their
older counterparts earn.