NEWS– The Minister of Gender, Labor and Social Development Betty Amongi has said that the Government of Uganda has committed to protecting children’s rights and preventing violence against them.
Minister Amongi said this speaking during a dialogue with members of Civil Society and International Organizations at Silver Springs Hotel Bugolobi where she reiterated that the government will work with committees at the national, district and lower councils to ensure the commitments are realized.
The commitments shall be presented before the World Solutions Summit set for February 2022, which is aimed at addressing key policy challenges facing the Group of Twenty (G20) and other global governance fora.
Some of the commitments include promoting positive and responsible parenting, equipping parents and caregivers with appropriate information to keep children safe at home, in the community, and eliminating all forms of violence against children.
They have also committed to making the internet safe for children, making schools safe, non-violent and inclusive, protecting children from all forms of violence in humanitarian settings like refugee camps, and also strengthening systems, services and networks to prevent and respond to violence against children.
Minister Amongi said that the COVID-19 pandemic has seen an increase in the number of abuses against children in homes and communities.
The Uganda Child Helpline-UCHL under the Ministry of Gender, Labor and Social Development received an average of 100 calls per day before COVID-19 lockdown, but shortly after lockdown measures were put in place between 10 and 26th April 2020, the helpline received 21,904 calls with an average of 1,369 calls a day.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Gender, Labor and Social Development Aggrey David Kibenge, said parenting is key because children spend their early stages of childhood with their parents and care givers.
Kibenge called upon parents to embrace their role of parenting and avoid leaving it to teachers adding that although government puts in place laws to protect children against violence, the parents are key to ensuring implementation.
Dr Howard Taylor, the Executive Director of the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children called for more research into child violence and said that the COVID-19 pandemic has increased cases of violence against children.
The Director of Education, Youth and Child Development Julie Grier-Villate said that Uganda has developed several tools that have helped to avert child violence but encouraged that more should be done.