First Lady, Jeannette Kagame, has called for concerted efforts from the public, civil society organisations and development partners to put an end to violence against children.
She made the call, yesterday, while opening the National Conference on Violence against Children in Kigali.
The two-day forum aims at discussing the root causes of violence against children, its impact and come up with recommendations to scale up the current initiatives on prevention and response to this violence.
“The protection of children from violence is a fundamental right to each and every child around the world which must never be compromised,” Mrs Kagame said.
The First Lady pointed out that there is need to assist families promote positive parenting and the use of constructive discipline to ensure sound development and upbringing of children.
“In many cases, the line between child discipline and abuse is crossed and this is something we must all take responsible action for,” she said.
“As we continue consolidating our gains in the implementation of EDPRS and continue to be on track on MDG’s lets not lose the sight that for these dreams to be met, nothing must compromise the health and wellbeing of our children who are the next generation and future leaders”.
The First Lady emphasised that the protection of children from violence and neglect is neither a choice nor luxury, but a national necessity.
“We must do everything we can as leaders, parents, elders to ensure that child abuse and its lifetime consequences are not meted out on our children,” she noted.
Mrs Kagame called on the various institutions to strengthen commitments and devise more strategies on ending violence against children.
“We must consider methods we can develop to ensure children are not exposed to various circumstances before their time. By this, I mean exposure to drugs, alcohol and inadequate environments that produce harmful results on children such as disease, under development and early death, “she expounded.
Aloisea Inyumba, the Minister of Gender and Family Promotion, reiterated the government’s commitment to end violence against children by strengthening its partnership with stakeholders.
“Tackling social norms, defining and understanding their dynamics and as well as applying findings in prevention and service would end violence against children,” she said.
According to Police statistics, in 2010, the Isange One Stop Centre treated 1,350 survivors of rape. Sixty five percent of these were children and youth, 15 percent were below the age of five and 95 percent were women and girls, while 23 percent of the total were girls between 16 and 20 years.