he United Nation Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has called on governments, particularly those in Africa, to invest more in programmes and campaign that promote children’s rights.
The agency’s call comes as South Africa joins governments across the globe to mark International Children’s Day on Friday.
Currently, programmes against the abuse of children account for less than one per cent of African government’s annual expenditure.
UNICEF social policy analyst Micah Huijbregts says this must change.
“It’s huge and I think what people don’t realise is that the abuse of children is costing not just personal cost but there’s a cost to the economy. Imagine if we could grow the economy by 5%. That would be amazing, it would benefit business, and it would benefit the country as a whole and children and families,” says Huijbregts.
South Sudanese ambassador to South Africa Phillip Jada Natana has bemoaned the negative impact the war in his home country has on children.
“It’s the duty of every parent to see that every child is protected and they are not subjected to conditions of war, use a child soldiers, they are no exposed to the threats of human or child trafficking. Not only government but individuals have got the responsibility to ensure that children are really protected and they are given the necessary tools to develop the potential that they have,” says Natana.