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RNP, partners in child protection campaign

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Child abuse has far-reaching effects to victims. Violence against children and young people is a fundamental violation of their rights. Sexual, physical, and emotional violence have lasting scars on health and happiness and prevent children and youth from contributing to societies to their full potential. Physical, emotional, sexual mistreatment or lack of care can cause injury or emotional damage to a child.

Law n°71/2018 of 31/08/2018 relating to the protection of the child defines a child as “any person under eighteen (18) years of age.”

It also defines ‘harassing a child’ as ‘any act that causes or may be harmful to the health be physical or emotional or which may deprive the child his or her rights.

According to, a child is any person below the age of 18. As such, just like any other person, a child has rights. Article 19 the Convention on the Rights of the Child (protection from all forms of violence) states that “Children have the right to be protected from being hurt and mistreated, physically or mentally.

In implementing these legal instruments and to protect children from any harm, the Rwanda National Police (RNP) GBV and Child protection directorate in partnership with ‘Masenge Mba Hafi, a local NGO, have started home visits for children, who are victims of sexual violence. The outreach started on Tuesday, June 15, in Rukara Sector Kayonza District.

Masenge Mba Hafi aims to educate and empower pregnant teenagers or teen mothers, monitor, and help them with their problems.

At least 91 minor girls were sexually abused in Rukara Sector alone leading to teen pregnancy, with 67 of them now teenage mothers.

“There are pregnant teens or teen mothers, who also face challenges in their families where they are neglected, and this makes the situation worse because it affects them greatly including the unborn or newborn baby. These are some of the concerns we are trying to address as we meet these affected young girls and their parents,” said Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Rose Muhisoni.

She added that some of the affected teen mothers have expressed concerns of lack of care, which affects both the young mother and the baby.

“This outreach is about encouraging these adolescent mothers to break silence, report those who sexually abused them to face the law but also the challenges they face to get necessary support,” said ACP Muhisoni.

She warned against child abuse and sexual violence in particular and called upon the public to be responsive against these human rights violations by reporting those responsible to face justice.

ACP Muhisoni further appealed to parents and guardians to support these affected girls to prevent any further effects.

Article 28 of the relating to the protection of the child, partly states that a person who harasses a child commits an offence. Upon conviction, he/she is liable to imprisonment for a term of not less than two (2) years and not more than three (3) years, and a fine of not less than Rwf200, 000 and not more than Rwf300, 000.

In article 32, a parent, a guardian or any other person legally responsible for the child who, without reasonable cause, neglects any of his/her obligations provided by law to the extent that the health, the security and the living conditions of the child are seriously jeopardized or the child indulges in vagrancy commits an offence.

Upon conviction, he/she is liable to community services for a period not more than one (1) month.

In case of recidivism, the penalty is a term of imprisonment for a term of not less than two (2) months and not more than six (6) months, with a fine of not less than Rwf500, 000 and not more than frw1 million or one of these penalties only.

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