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Children must be protected amid civil unrest in Eswatini – Save the Children

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Children must be protected amid civil unrest in Eswatini – Save the Children

The fact that children are seen as the creators of the problem rather than the victims is unacceptable

MBABANE, eSwatini, October 14, 2021 / APO Group / –

In response to the continued violence against children and the closure of schools, the executive director of Save the Children in Eswatini, Dumisani Minsi, said:

“Save the Children is deeply concerned about the ongoing civil unrest in Eswatini, which affects thousands of children across the country. While we recognize the efforts of various parties to resolve the crisis and send children back to school, the situation on the ground is unfortunately worsening.

“Schools have become military and police zones. Tear gas and shootings have become the order of the day. Social networks are full of videos and images of children frantically fleeing from gunmen.

We are particularly concerned at reports that children are directly targeted by lethal force. Violence against children should never be tolerated and children should be protected, no matter where they are or what they do.

“In addition to this blatant use of violence, hundreds of other children have been arbitrarily arrested. Many of these arrests are carried out without regard to the Child Protection and Welfare Act 2012, which clearly sets out how children in contact with the law are to be treated. The fact that children are seen as the creators of the problem rather than the victims is unacceptable.

“We call on all parties to ensure that immediate action is taken to minimize damage to civilians, including the use of lethal force against children. We call on the government to remove the military and police from schools so that children can again see them as safe places to learn, and to remember its international obligations and commitments to children. A key expectation is that as the primary caregiver, they act in the best interests of the children. We further call for the release of all detained children.

“We call on the Ministry of Education to find a peaceful way to involve students, listen to their grievances and explore how some of them can be addressed, including ensuring that the learning materials is available at all times for children and teachers. “

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