Coalition for the Empowerment of Women and Girls (CEWAG) has expressed the need to intensify awareness campaigns on the rights of children to ensure that previous year’s abuses are not experienced again this year.
CEWAG Executive Director, Beatrice Mateyo, said there is need to change people’s mind-set towards the girl child.
The previous year was described as worst due to the increased cases of defilement in which according to Malawi Police Service report, more than 1, 700 cases were registered.
Mateyo said: “The country did not do well in the year 2020 in as far as child rights protection is concerned so there is need to prevent the same experience in the year 2021.”
She suggested that parents and guardians must be sensitized on the dangers giving consent to child marriages by giving in their children.
“Some parents do allow their children to get married and earn their needs in return, a development which is also promoting child abuse,” she said.
She added that government must also invest more in girl’s education as part of empowering them.
Mateyo further bemoaned the court’s lenient punishments towards the defilers saying this has failed the initiative of deterring the would-be offenders.
He therefore suggested that all the defilement cases must be referred to the high courts for stiffer punishment of life imprisonment.