Civil so­ci­ety looks to tackle child sex abuse

The Myanmar Times - - News - HTIKE NANDAR WIN news­room@mm­times.com Trans­la­tion by Win Thaw Tar and Zar Zar Soe

A NA­TIONAL-LEVEL meet­ing aimed at bet­ter pro­tect­ing chil­dren from sex­ual abuse will take place in Nay Pyi Taw later this week, as civil so­ci­ety groups call on par­lia­men­tar­i­ans to act in the face of in­creas­ing rape rates.

The NGO Child Rights Work­ing Group (NCRWG), an um­brella or­gan­i­sa­tion of 19 civil so­ci­ety bod­ies, has called for ef­fec­tive leg­is­la­tion and en­force­ment to be put into place.

“We have seen now many child rape cases in this coun­try. There are some cases [where ac­tion is not taken] ef­fec­tively and the culprits have walked free,” said U Aung Myo Min, direc­tor of Equal­ity Myan­mar, an NCRWG mem­ber.

“There is a need to pro­mul­gate strong laws to pro­tect chil­dren ef­fec­tively. We have in­vited 70 hlut­taw rep­re­sen­ta­tives to lis­ten to the voices of the chil­dren,” he said, ex­plain­ing that some 130 young del­e­gates from Myan­mar’s 14 re­gions and states will be in at­ten­dance.

The meet­ing, from Novem­ber 18 to 20, will see young peo­ple dis­cuss the dif­fi­cul­ties faced by chil­dren in Myan­mar so­ci­ety when it comes to abuse and re­port­ing as­sault.

“There is a need to ed­u­cate chil­dren to know th­ese dan­gers, such as the kind of places they shouldn’t go, which parts of their bod­ies they shouldn’t show to oth­ers and which parts of their bod­ies they should not ac­cept be­ing touched by oth­ers,” U Aung Myo Min said, adding that any such ed­u­ca­tion ought to take into con­sid­er­a­tion the stu­dents’ ages.

It is im­por­tant for par­ents to re­ceive ed­u­ca­tion too, said Save the Chil­dren’s head of pro­gram for child rights gover­nance Daw Ni Ni Hla.

“Gen­er­ally, of­fend­ers are not strangers but close or re­li­able friends and ac­quain­tances. So there need to be many ed­u­ca­tion pro­grams – through the mass me­dia that chil­dren watch the most,” she said.

Daw Ni Ni Hla said it was im­por­tant that chil­dren learn about their bod­ies, their devel­op­ment and how to pro­tect them­selves. U Aung Myo Min sug­gested that learn­ing about the hu­man anatomy should be a com­pul­sory part of school cur­ric­ula.

“There are many child prob­lems in our state,” said Ma Mo Bal, a child del­e­gate from Kayah State.

‘We have seen now many child rape cases in this coun­try. There are some cases [where ac­tion is not taken] ef­fec­tively. ’

U Aung Myo Min Equal­ity Myan­mar

“For ex­am­ple, a lack of health­care ser­vices and the fact that many stu­dents don’t have a chance to com­plete for­mal school­ing. We want the el­ders – espe­cially the gov­ern­ment – to fix th­ese prob­lems.”

In the nine months through Septem­ber of this year, 761 rape cases were re­ported – the high­est in five years. Of th­ese, un­der­age vic­tims rep­re­sent a sig­nif­i­cant pro­por­tion. –

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