Child Protection Week gets underway

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Pretoria � Government, led by Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini, will today launch Child Protection Week in Langa, Cape Town.

As the custodians of the Children’s Act, the Department of Social Development said the annual campaign will this year be launched under the theme, ‘Let us all Protect Children to Move South Africa Forward’.

The launch, which will be held at Langa High School Sports Grounds, seeks to raise awareness and educate society about the rights and responsibilities of children.

South Africans are encouraged to report child abuse to the 24-hour Gender Based Violence Command Centre on 0800 428 428 or *120*7867#.

South African children experience and witness multiple forms of violence in the home, family, community and school, usually at the hands of someone they know.

Violence affects children of all ages. Children under the age of five are most likely to be abused and killed in their homes, while teenage boys are at increased risk of being killed in the context of male-on-male interpersonal violence, said the Department of Social Development.

One in three children are victims of sexual violence and physical abuse before they reach the age of 18, while about 12% of children report neglect and approximately 16% report emotional abuse.

In the period of 2013/14, the department said about 18 524 (29%) of sexual offences reported to the police were children under the age of 18 years, equating to 51 cases a day.

The crime statistics do not give child-specific information every year. The 2013/14 report is the latest information, said the department.

It said the rape and murder of children is not an unusual event, as one case is reported every third day.

These shocking statistics are the reality of many South African children and government is doing all it can to make sure that children are safe, especially in the home where parents and loved ones are expected to be their primary caregivers.

Government has, through the Children’s Act, availed services to make sure that every child receives care and protection, said the department.

Educational puppet show teaches children about their rights

On the backdrop of Child Protection Month, the Department of Transport, Safety and Liaison in the Northern Cape has brought to life a puppet show to pre-schoolers about children’s rights.

The provincial department said the initiative, hosted recently in Hartswater by the department and its stakeholders, is one of the ways to make children aware of their rights and issues of safety.

The puppet show, the department said, is a way to ensure messages reach children in a way that is easy for them to understand.

The department said it wants children to know and understand their body parts, and to know what is appropriate and what is not.

It said children need to know they can tell their parents, guardians or teachers if someone is touching them inappropriately or saying inappropriate things to them.

The department’s Acting Regional Manager for the Frances Baard District, Greg Jammer, said the department wants to caution parents and guardians to be observant to changing behaviour or patterns in their children.

If a vibrant and outspoken child suddenly behaves differently, that is a red flag to pay attention and calmly ask questions and also to be observant of signs of child abuse.

Parents need to keep tabs of their children’s whereabouts and keep a close eye on them, said Jammer.

Speaking to the children during the puppet show on Friday, Sergeant Tumelo Sebuasengwe from the Hartswater Police Station, cautioned them to avoid walking alone or accepting lifts or sweets from strangers and to always play close to home and in groups if possible.

Sebuasengwe pleaded with parents not to wait long periods to report missing children, as they could be gone too far by then.

If you have looked everywhere and ran out of places to look and still have not found your child, immediately seek help at your nearest police station, he said.

Source: South African Government News Agency

MEC Albert Fritz launches Western Cape Social Development Child Protection Week, 29 May

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Child Protection Week door-to-door event in Mitchells Plain

Tomorrow, the Western Cape Minister of Social Development, Albert Fritz will officially launch the departments Child Protection Week commemoration with a door-to-door awareness activity in Mitchells Plain.

The Minister will be joined by Western Cape Premier, Helen Zille, along with social workers from the Department of Social Development (DSD) local office in Mitchells Plain, social work officials from NGO partners and local religious leaders.

This year’s provincial theme for Child Protection Week is, Child Protection is Everyone’s Business.

Recent cases in the Western Cape of child abuse and murder, have shone the spotlight on the plight of many children in the province. DSD continues to devote the largest share of its budget to rendering services to children and families � R651 million this year. Child protection cannot however be the role of the government alone.

Source: Government of South Africa

Europe Left Uneasy by Trump’s Message

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ROME � White House press spokesman Sean Spicer declared Saturday night Donald Trump’s first overseas trip as U.S. president had been a success in a tweet posted as the American leader was flying back to Washington after very productive 9 days.

Just hours earlier President Trump told American troops stationed in Sicily he had strengthened bonds with allies.

That isn’t how Europe leaders and most of the continent’s media see it.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel spelled out publicly her fears that the traditional western alliance is now under threat both from the Trump presidency and Brexit.

Speaking at a rally in Germany, she said: The times in which we can fully count on others are somewhat over, as I have experienced in the past few days.

While acknowledging that Germany and Europe should strive to maintain good relations with the U.S. and Britain, Merkel also said, We need to know we must fight for our own future as Europeans for our destiny.

European reaction � especially in the key capitals of Berlin and Paris � to the Trump visit is very different from the White House’s characterization; and “success” isn’t a word being used.

European officials say they now are convinced Europe will have to go it alone more � something they expected would be the case after Trump was elected.

For them, Washington is no longer the dependable ally. And that broadly has been the view of Europe’s press. Headlines all week have been providing a counterpoint to the White House version of meetings. Belgium’s Le Soir headlined one front-page story: Trump shoves his allies.

And Germany’s financial newspaper Handelsblatt dubbed him Boor-in-Chief.

Disappointment

The Europeans had hoped Trump’s visit might mark a reset in transatlantic relations roiled by his election � that the U.S. president would be persuaded to see the world through their eyes more. But from Brussels to Sicily, there were uneasy smiles, awkwardness and no disguising rifts on a range of issues � from trade and immigration to sanctions on Russia and climate change.

European leaders and officials complained to the media that Trump and his advisers were ignorant of basic facts, notably on transatlantic trade. Every time we talked about a country, he remembered the things he had done, one official told Belgium’s Le Soir. Scotland? He said he had opened a club. Ireland? He said it took him two-and-a-half years to get a license and that did not give him a very good image of the EU.

German officials told Suddeutsche Zeitung that Trump and his aides were under the impression America had separate trade deals with each individual EU country.

‘America First’ message

France’s Le Monde newspaper said: During this visit, President Trump maintained his line ‘America First,’ refusing to take a step to improve U.S.-European relations. It faulted him for failing to make a clear statement reaffirming Article 5 of the NATO Treaty, guaranteeing mutual assistance in the event of armed attack, and for lecturing European leaders on financial burden-sharing.

The German magazine Der Spiegel pounced on the closing photo-op of a midweek meeting between Trump and newly elected French President Emmanuel Macron in which the two men appeared locked in a hand-wrestling match as a visual metaphor of the U.S. president’s European trip.

The Frenchman grabbed Trump’s hand and squeezed hard, the magazine noted. Trump squeezed back. For a moment, they looked like opponents locked in a wrestling match. Trump wanted to let go, but Macron squeezed even harder until his knuckles turned white, was the Der Spiegel’s description of an iconic almost sumo-like standoff between the two leaders.

Body language

Other European media outlets focused their attention on the shove President Trump gave Montenegro’s prime minister, Dusko Markovic, in order to position himself to the front for a group photo-opportunity of NATO leaders.

Aside from body-language, European media attention Saturday focused on the brevity of the communique concluding the two-day G-7 summit in Sicily Saturday � half-a-dozen pages long, compared to 32 pages last year � which many editorial writers saw as advertising the absence of consensus between the U.S. and the other G-7 members.

Trump’s refusal to reaffirm the 2015 Paris pact on climate change aimed at reining in greenhouse gas emissions was the headline dispute of the G-7 summit in the cliff-top town of Taormina on Sicily’s Ionian coast, but European commentators noted that across the board there was very little meeting of minds.

Italian newspapers noted the disappointment of Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni in his efforts to get U.S. backing for a new partnership between G-7 nations and Africa involving aid and investment in a bid to stem the flow of migrants across the Mediterranean.

Deadlock over climate change

European newspapers have now taken to dubbing the G-7 as “G-6 plus one” � a characterization prompted partly by German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s remarks on the summit deadlock over climate change.

The whole discussion on the topic of climate was very difficult, not to say very unsatisfactory, Merkel said as the summit of the leaders of the world’s most economically advanced nations was drawing to a close. Here we have a situation of six against one, meaning there is still no sign of whether the U.S. will remain in the Paris accord or not,” she added.

The Guardian newspaper’s Jon Henley, the paper’s European affairs correspondent, argued in his assessment of Trump’s visit: It may, mercifully, have passed off without apocalyptic mishap, but Donald Trump’s first transatlantic trip as U.S. president still left European leaders shaken.

Source: Voice of America