About 180 traders operating in Ruhango Market in Ruhango District have been urged to champion the protection of children rights and their welfare.
The call was made by the district mayor, Epimaque Twagirimana along with the District Community Liaison Officer (DCLO) Inspector of Police (IP) Angelique Abijuru, during a recent meeting with the traders.
Speaking at the meeting, the mayor urged the traders “not be over-consumed by the desire for money and forget about your children.”
“Spare time for your children, accord them their rights, advise them on how to keep safe from crimes,” the Mayor told the traders.
Not connecting with the children, he said, exposes them to risks like dropping out of school, engaging in premature sexual affairs that may result into unwanted pregnancies, acquiring STDs, abusing drugs and exposing them to human trafficking.
“Government has put in place numerous measures to protect and promote the rights of children in all spheres, with the priority put on education and health. This becomes your responsibility as well to support this course by promoting and advancing these measures,” said the Mayor.
IP Abijuru noted that there are times when parents or guardians abuse the rights of children under the pretext that they are punishing them.
“The laws are stringent against any form of child abuse. Some parents and guardians are frequently causing their children to feel frightened or in danger by constantly exposing them to domestic violence – and the children witness ill treatment between their parents. Such children are likely to take a wrong direction in life,” said IP Abijuru.
“You must, therefore, stand up and ensure that children are treated with dignity. This can be achieved through quick response and providing timely information where you encounter such abuse.”
Some of the key child abuse cases include verbal assault, child labor, defilement and denying them a right to go to school and corporal punishment.
The head of the traders association in Ruhango, François Ngendahayo noted that, “Our children are the future leaders of our country; if we want our country to achieve sustainable development we must ensure the welfare of those who will drive that agenda – our children.”