Be vigilant, parents urged

Save the Children Fiji CEO Iris Low-McKennzie speaking to the Tanoa siblings after receiving bags from the NGO in Suva yesterday. Picture: JOVESA NAISUA

Save the Children Fiji CEO Iris Low-McKennzie speaking to the Tanoa siblings after receiving bags from the NGO in Suva. Picture: JOVESA NAISUA/FILE

SAVE the Children Fiji is calling on parents, carers and duty bearers to be vigilant and take proactive measures to protect children.

Chief executive officer Iris Low-McKenzie said children themselves needed to be supported to be able to protect themselves and report any instances where they felt unsafe.

Ms Low-McKenzie said the commitment to protect children had already been made by the Fijian Government when the country made a dedication to protect children when it ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) in 1993 and had also signed the Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography in 2005.

Ms Low-McKenzie urged the public to refer such cases to relevant authorities.

“Reports should be made directly to the police, Social Welfare or the Child Helpline,” she said.

Meanwhile, Ms Low-McKenzie said the identity of the child should be kept private and confidential.

She said the best interest of the child must be upheld at all times and the identity of the child should be kept confidential to reduce further victimisation.

However, Ms Low-McKenzie said people needed to wait on the details of the investigation to truly understand the nature of the case.

She said the risks to children in Fiji were real.

“We are seeing more cases of sexual abuse of children, sexual exploitation, child labour and reported cases of missing children and we need to do more to find out the root causes of these issues so that interventions can happen at different levels.”

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