By Elias Hakizimana.
Over 800 children have faced sexual abuse as per the research by Umbrella of Human Rights Organizations in Rwanda (CLADHO).
CLADHO revealed this after discussions with Education Officials in districts (DEO), National Children Council (NCC), Rwanda Intelligence0 Board (RIB) and National Public Prosecution Authority (NPPA) and proved the issue is persisting.
It was revealed by Jean Leonard Sekanyange, Chairperson of Civil Society Organizations saying that over 800 children got unwanted pregnancies as per results from 10 districts of Rwanda. Sekanyange noted that once there is no action taken the issue can undermine the community.
“The research by CLADHO proved that those children are violated by mature people when coming from or going to school. We can’t remain quiet on this issue. District Eucation Officials should stand up for this and it is not only the police’s assignment,” said Sekanyange.
He said that some of the victims commit suicide after being isolated by their families due to unwanted pregnancies after being violated.
In his presentation, Antoinette Mupenzi, an official from NPPA showed that received files by the prosecution are at the highest level and that one challenge remains difficulties in finding signs of the victims’ cases.
“Special measures were established to handle this issue of child sex abuse and it is the reason why we do all possible to push the criminal cases and the government set up the Safe Houses for Victims to help them give out testimonies without being harmed and harassed. Various capacity building trainings were also organized to fight against this crime,” Mupenzi noted.
According to the recent statistics by the prosecution, between 2015 and 2016, they received 1917 cases among them 1207 were sent in court, 700 were filed, 1907 were processed while 10 are pending.
Among the total of 1917 cases, 810 were publicly heard, 617 were won by prosecution and failed 193 cases while 77.2 were postponed.
Mupenzi said that those are most of the cases they received. She mentioned that the statistics on this issue keep going on the rise every year and that it can grow worse once no action taken. She said that another challenge is lack of evidence of the crime.
Evariste Murwanashyaka, Child Protection and Promotion Manager in CLADHO called up on a joint effort of all concerned levels in fighting against child sexual abuse. “Everyone must have a role to play, parents, community, educators and children themselves so that we can all together take actions to avoid consequences of this issue on the Rwandan Community,” Murwanashyaka said.
Districts Education Officials were recommended to request school headmasters to schedule special topics about this issue in parents’ monthly meeting so that the cases in jurisdiction can be reduced.
The theme of the discussions was “Help us in our studies without teenage pregnancy.”