Child Abusers Are Social Pariahs [editorial]

ANY sane Namibian would not condone the sexual abuse and malicious abandonment of our children as this threatens our existence as a nation.

Children are our future and we, as parents, should do everything in our power to protect them from being physically and mentally abused.

We have a collective duty to protect our children lest we are doomed because we are supposed to bequeath our values, our norms and our responsibilities to these children as our generation ages.

The recent report on the sexual and physical abuse of at least 814 children and the malicious abandonment of 923 children in Namibia over the past year is simply abominable and unacceptable.

The rights of the child are so important that the UN General Assembly adopted the Convention of the Rights of the Child on November 20, 1989. This particular Convention clearly says all children shall enjoy social security and that they shall have the right to adequate nutrition, housing, recreation and medical services. While those children who are physically, socially or mentally handicapped shall be given special treatment, education and care as deemed fit.

Article 15 of our Constitution regarding children’s rights is clear saying children should be protected from economic exploitation. It says no child under the age of fourteen shall be employed to work in any factory or mine.

Most worrying is the fact that some loopholes in our legislation regarding the rights of children are being exploited by some good-for-nothings in our society. Despite such a high number of children being sexually exploited, what is even more worrying is the fact no one has been prosecuted for exploiting or abusing an innocent child. There is no excuse for not punishing some of the mentally challenged individuals who without shame sexually exploit our nation’s poor children.

Paedophiles who are in essence individuals with a sexual preference for under-aged children should be punished severely to hammer home the message that this sort of vile crime has no place in a civilised country such as Namibia.

Despite their rights being protected in our Constitution and under the Convention of the Rights of the Child it is very unfortunate some children are born into servitude and are modern-day slaves who toil for beggarly wages.

It is contemptible that in this age there are still some people who wilfully exploit innocent children whom they employ to work in slave-like conditions on their farms and in their homes, paying them deficient, starvation wages.

The sexual defilement of Namibian children is in part because a considerable proportion of these vulnerable children live in weakened families and communities, where social support is diminishing and impoverishment is increasing.

An African adage says it takes a village to raise a child. But for a growing number of children in Namibia this no longer rings true. Besides losing their parents, some children have also lost a close adult relative who would have taken them into their custody, thus leaving them without that safety net from an extended family. But this should not be used as an excuse to willy-nilly abuse any child because as we pointed out earlier, these children are the future of our great nation.

Child abuse has no place in our society and should be confined to the dustbin because it is distasteful, repulsive and simply contemptible. Those perpetrating any form of child abuse have no place amongst us and they should pay for their evil.

Source : New Era