The Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops (ZCCB) has appealed to leaders to do everything possible to mitigate the impact and protect the children from suffering the trauma and life-long effects of the humanitarian crises.
On the occasion to mark the day of the African Child which falls on the 16th of June every year, ZCCB Bishop Director for Education and Safeguarding of Vulnerable Adults and Minors, Rt. Rev. Patrick Chisanga O.F.M. Conv, said that civic, political, traditional, religious leaders as well as individual families leaders need to do everything possible to mitigate the impact and protect the children from suffering the trauma and life-long effects of the humanitarian crises such as floods, droughts, health crises as well as human-made disasters that are often brought about through armed conflicts and dictatorial political regimes.
Bishop Chisanga observed that it is in such situations that the abuse of children and violation of their rights are heightened and often unchecked.
Rt. Rev. Chisanga has further observed that abject poverty, limited access to education, poor health, food and nutrition, inadequate supply of clean water, poor housing, child labour and child marriages are other concomitant challenges that negatively impact on the welfare of the African Child.
Bishop Chisanga who is also the local ordinary for Mansa Diocese said that the vulnerability of the African Child has been worsened further by the current novel global health crisis of the covid-19 that has exposed child to more abuses and increased poverty due illness and death of the caregiver.
He reiterated Pope Francis’ appeal for “an all-out battle against the abuse of minors both sexually and in other areas, on the part of all authorities and individuals.” The Holy Father made this appeal to Presidents of Bishops’ Conferences in February 2019 on the protection of minors.
Bishop Chisanga also said that the Catholic Bishops in Zambia, on their part, have made a clear commitment to promoting an enlightened community where the rights of a child are upheld, respected and safeguarded.
He added that as Africa celebrates the day of the African Child this year, the Catholic Church in Zambia would like to see an environment where every child is loved, safe and cared for.
“Every child in Africa should have access to good and quality education, in line with the aspiration number 6 of the African charter on the rights and welfare of the child. The church is fully aware that a lot of effort has been put in towards attaining this dream. however, there is a lot of work yet to be done, “he said.
“In order to complement the efforts of the government, the Catholic Church in Zambia pledges to continue providing quality education for all children, with particular focus on the most vulnerable in our urban as well as the remote parts of the country. The Church further commits to continue giving the children an integrated learning experience that maximizes their physical, emotional, social and spiritual qualities and abilities,” Bishop Chisanga added.
The day of the African Child celebrations date back to 16th June 1991 when it was institutionalized by the then organisation of African unity.
This year’s theme is: “30 Years after the Adoption of the Charter: Accelerate the Implementation of Agenda 2040 for an Africa Fit for Children.”