THE Panos Institute Southern Africa says violation of children’s right remains high in Southern Africa.
In a message to mark International Children’s Day of Broadcasting, lPSAf executive director Vusumuzi Sifile said in most instances these violations remain unknown and unattended to because of children’s limited access to opportunities or platforms to express themselves and participate in addressing rights violations.
“As a result, children’s needs and concerns are often not heard nor prioritised in the governance and development processes. This creates a situation where children’s rights are not protected. The ICDB therefore presents an opportunity and platform for children to shape the debate on these issues,” he said.
Sifile called on media houses to provide more space for children’s voices to highlight their concerns and development aspirations.
The International Children’s Day of Broadcasting (ICDB) is commemorated every year on the first Sunday of March to encourage broadcasting houses to raise awareness on issues affecting children around the world.
Over the years, this special day has evolved to include children themselves leading in broadcasting programmes that raise issues of concern to them and advocating appropriate actions from leaders and society at large to improve children’s welfare.
The theme for this year’s ICDB is ‘Free, Safe, Empowered and Responsible’.
Sifile said with a strong desire to see a Southern Africa that drives its own development by empowering and amplifying the voices of the marginalised, including children, Panos is of the view that increased access to media spaces would enable children to voice out on issues affecting or of concern to them.
“The ICDB is an opportunity for the children to share concerns, and to hold leaders and society to account on their obligations and commitments to advance children’s rights,” he said.
Sifile said Panos recognises the many efforts invested by government, cooperating partners, civil society and other stakeholders to address child abuses and violations, but was of the view that much more needs to be done to further reduce their vulnerability to these vices.
Sifile said the ICDB 2020 was thus an opportunity to allow children to have their voices heard and emphasise the need for accountability in the efforts to address their various challenges.
“Panos, therefore, encourages the broadcasting houses to provide the space to the children on the ICDB and beyond to speak out. This will contribute to transforming the way society addresses children’s concerns and needs, and enable them to realise their full potential in life,” said Sifile.
“We also encourage leaders and society to listen to the children and respond accordingly to ensure that children are free and safe from abuses and are empowered and responsible for the realisation of their rights and potential.”