THE Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) has called for the alignment of a number of child laws to the constitution, saying the delay was causing more harm than good to the welfare of children.
In a statement, ZHRC said a lot needs to be done to ensure children are fully protected, regardless of the fact that the government has amended some child protection laws.
“ZHRC is concerned about the delays in finalising the key legal instruments for the welfare of children in Zimbabwe such as Children’s Amendment Bill and the Child Justice Bill.
“Furthermore, a number of laws affecting children remain unaligned to the Constitution such as the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act (Chapter9:23) and the Births and Deaths Registration Act (Chapter 5:02). This impacts negatively on the welfare of children,” said the commission.
The ZHRC also noted that cases of child sexual exploitation that remain prevalent in the country were testimony enough that the government needs to act quickly to address the crisis.
The ZHRC also urged the government to raise awareness and strengthen the enforcement of laws protecting children against sexual exploitation and abuse.
“Additionally, ZHRC reminds parents, guardians and caregivers that children depend on them to provide effective protection from all forms of abuse, knowledge, social skills and resilience. Parents should cherish their children, protect them, and put their best interests in all matters affecting the children.”
Meanwhile, ZRHC said while government efforts to ensure that the right to life, survival and development are upheld through health-related programmes such as vaccination programmes children need more protection from these diseases.
In addition, the ZHRC said it was also concerned about the recurrent outbreaks of diarrheal diseases due to perennial challenges in access to clean, safe and potable water in both rural and urban areas.
“The commission is concerned about the recurrent child killer diseases such as measles and poliomyelitis which have long been eradicated in other countries.”