A student ambassador addressed the Presidential Summit on Gender-based Violence and Femicide (GBVF) and warned about what would happen if the safety of children of South Africa aren’t prioritised.
Ambassadors from the Organisations Working with Children Action Caucuses said they are proud to represent the 22 million children of SA at the GBVF summit.
Children speak out at GBVF Summit
They also participated in a pre-summit held on 22 October where they were given the opportunity to “exercise their right of participation”.
To start, their recommendation for the next GBVF summit is to allow children a larger participation because they are “highly affected by violence” in the country.
She said: “243 children and 855 women were murdered in South Africa between April and June 2022. Furtermore, 1 670 children were victims of brutal bodily harm”.
Alarming increase of abuse
“This is a 58% jump from the same period last year. Please underline this: 58%. And 58% is quite alarming”.
She wanted to know what is being done about the perpetrators and abusers responsible for the alarming increase in rapes and murders.
“Are those perpetrators being arrested or are they roaming around as free, innocent men as if they did not commit any crime”.
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The children of SA ‘ready to fight’
She called for urgent action and also warned about what might happen if their request is ignored:
“Because we want to promise you this: As the children of South Africa, we are ready. We are prepared. We refused to be silenced”.
“We are ready to shut down the country, we are ready to close all the streets of South Africa to march for our rights which are being violated”.
She added: “Seemingly in this country [the perpetrators] only understand one action – to protest”.
7th pillar for children
It also suggested at the summit that a seventh pillar be added to the National Strategic Plan, specifically to deal with the issues faced by children.
“Children experience gender-based violence, therefore services aimed at supporting them have become of crucial importance as highlighted in the summit”.
There are currently six pillars to the plan:
- Accountability, coordination and leadership
- Prevention and rebuilding social cohesion
- Justice, safety and protection
- Research and information system
- Economic power
- Response, care, support and healing.
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