03 Nov 2013 10:20am
WINDHOEK, 03 NOV NAMPA - The delay in tabling the Child Care and Protection Bill in Parliament is a major concern for many children in Namibia.
This alarm was raised on Friday during the first-ever National Children Forum held in Windhoek.
About 250 children from various schools in nine towns including Rundu, Ondangwa, Outjo, Otjiwarongo, Rehoboth and Kalkrand attended the Forum aimed at tackling issues such as alcohol and drug abuse at schools, teenage pregnancies.
The forum was arranged by the Katutura Youth Enterprise Center's (KAYEC) Youth Development Programme.
We have this law that needs to be passed in Parliament. It is now more than 15 years to actually bring it to Parliament. That is another burning issue among the children and the youth, because it is a law that needs to be respected, said Junior Mayor of Windhoek, Emma Theofelus.
She told Nampa on the sidelines of the event that it deals with the rights of the child, and somebody has to do something about it.
The first Child Protection Bill was drafted in 1994 and revised several times since then. It is intended to replace the outdated Children's Act No. 33 of 1960.
Law reform in this area is essential if children in Namibia are to receive the care and protection they deserve.
The Bill addresses a number of key areas, including childrens courts, early intervention services, procedures for removing endangered children from the home, foster care, adoption, child trafficking, and child‐headed households.
Theofelus said the National Children's Forum gave the children a platform to be heard, contrary to the believe among older people that children should be seen and not heard.
I believe communication is the best solution. If a child is scared to approach you as a parent, then you as a parent must know something is not right, she said when asked about the role of the parent.