New push to stem child abuse in wake of disturbing cases

Rwanda National Police has warned the public against child abuse.  The warning comes after a 12-year-old boy who was collecting scrap metal in Gikondo suburb was beaten to death by men currently under custody.

Rwanda National Police has warned the public against child abuse. 

The warning comes after a 12-year-old boy who was collecting scrap metal in Gikondo suburb was beaten to death by men currently under custody.

A similar case in the same neighbourhood involved a three-year old child, who was assaulted by his step-mother and had his arm broken.

In another case, a 13-year-old student of APE Rugunga in Nyarugenge District was severely beaten by her father for alleged poor  academic performance.

The latest case involves two boys from Ubumwe village in Kicukiro Sector who were reportedly assaulted by two men working at a construction site in the area.

The boys were admitted to hospital after suffering severe injuries.

 “I had not committed any crime,” Manzi an orphan, said.

The two boys said they were advised to take action against their abusers, by their neighbours as their guardians were reluctant to take action.

Rights activists speak out

Children rights activists say although authorities have ensured every case of child abuse is punished, such malpractices still exist in society.

Alice Muhoza Mutoni, the programme coordinator at Haguruka, said corporal punishment is common in families where one of the parents is violent.

Haguruka is a local NGO that advocates for the rights of children and women.

“Some parents, guardians and members of the public inflict injuries on children under the guise of disciplining them. The challenge is that most of those cases go unreported,” Mutoni said.

The National Children’s Council (NCC) said such brutalities have  psychological effects on victims.

“Any person who beats up a child to an extent of causing physical injuries should be apprehended,”said Zaina Nyiramatana, the Executive Secretary of NCC.

Sophie Uwase Mutoni, an official from the Gender Monitoring Office (GMO) also condemned the acts of brutality against children. 

“Police has done a great job in dealing with such cases, but it cannot succeed if the community doesn’t join and own the campaign,” Mutoni said.

She appealed to parents and guardians to always be moderate when disciplining their children.

Senior Supt. Rose Muhisoni, the Director of Anti-Gender Based Violence and Child Protection at the Rwanda National Police, said five such cases have been registered this month in Kigali alone.

She said the abusers involved in the reported cases have been arrested and their files will be forwarded to prosecution for legal action.

Since December last year, 15 similar cases, including those of sexual violence against children, have been reported to police.

 Muhisoni warned parents against corporal punishment and appealed to the public to report such cases.

 

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