United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) has appealed to media practitioners to increase space given to highlighting children’s plight to protect their rights.
During a media orientation workshop termed “Keeping Ugandan Children Safe” last Friday, the agency said disturbing statistics about children’s rights violation should be tackled.
For example, Unicef said in 2013, 78 per cent of children experienced sexual violence in primary schools, of which 67 per cent of perpetrators were male teachers. The statistics also showed worrying figures regarding early marriages among young girls and female genital mutilation (FGM) still raging in some tribes.
According to Unicef, 49 per cent of all 20-49 year-old women were married by the age of 18.
About 50 per cent still practice FGM among the Sabiny tribe in the eastern region.
Mr Jaya Murthy, the Unicef chief communications officer, asked journalists to assist in ensuring that justice prevails in cases where perpetrators are found guilty.
“We ask journalists to help and fall up on acts that violate children rights and ensure that perpetrators are brought to book. They should report those parents who negotiate for money whenever their children fall victim,” Mr Murthy said.
The ministry of Education technical adviser, Ms Margaret Kasiko, said they have partnered with the Gender ministry to develop a national action plan against violence in schools and communities.
“At some point, we have conducted dialogue with both cultural and community leaders since acts like early marriages and female genital mutilation are deep rooted in some cultures,” Ms Kasiko said.