Numerous cases of child abuse could still be found across the country as most of the victims were ill-informed of their rights, said representatives of Ho Chi Minh City’s young generation during a local meeting entitled “Listening to children” yesterday.
Most of them ended up suffering in silence knowing no one or where to contact to inform abuse cases, they said.
Children are entitled to enjoy protection from the Government and its laws, they added.
Deputy Head of the National Assembly Committee for Culture, Education, Youth and Children Ngo Thi Minh said children’s rights have been clearly stated in Government laws but their execution is still limited.
Children’s lack of living experiences is said to be one of the main causes that make them vulnerable but adults and relevant agencies are also responsible as most of them have been neglecting children’s rights, a representative said.
Even in educational environments such as high schools, students’ opinions are not taken seriously and most of their complaints receive no feedback from teachers.
Nguyen Thi Ngoc Can, a ten-grade student also raised a question about local authorities’ responsibility in dealing with cases where parents force their children to quit school to join the labor force and thus expose them to social evils.
Adults’ actions and behaviors have always been observed and imitated by children, therefore adults should first set a good example, voiced Hoang Thi Phuong Uyen, another high school student.
Deputy Chairwoman of the HCMC People’s Committee Nguyen Thi Thu Ha admitted authorities’ shortcomings in management and encouraged young citizens to send more opinions to relevant agencies, especially the Youth Union for better solutions to current child problems.
Chairwoman of the HCMC People’s Council Pham Phuong Thao said her agency is considering opening regular interactive activities between local leaders and children, beginning at grassroots level.
Viet Nam is among a humble number of countries to conduct this kind of program, said Geetanjali Narayan, representative of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
According to UNICEF, the fatality rate for children under five years old has significantly declined from 42 to 17 deaths per one thousand over the last five years.
Besides, the Southeast Asian nation has maintained a good record of child healthcare with children vaccination rate reaching 95 percent. Poliomyelitic has been eradicated since 2002, tetanus in 2005 and the number of measles victims have been cut by 95 percent since 1990.
Alarm Bell Tolls
Last week, Trinh Thi Hanh Phuong was sentenced to 45 months in prison while her husband Chu Minh Duc put on probation for 36 months for enslaving a girl during the past decade.
Since 1997 when Nguyen Thi Binh, then 12 years old, started to work at their noodle shop until last year, she had been regularly beaten with wooden sticks and pliers, sometimes electric cables, which left 424 scars on her body.
Recently, a nursery teacher was arrested for sealing an 18-month-old infant’s mouth with a duct tape to stop her from crying, leaving the child dead days later.
Then, another nanny was shot live beating a number of children while feeding them.
Sexual abuse is also on the rise.
Last December, a 13-year-old girl in Tay Ho District, Ha Noi, was deceived by a young man who identified himself as a student and abused her.
Public opinion was indignant over the case of Nguyen Huu Lai, a teacher in Bac Ninh Province, who sexually abused students in his fifth-grade class.
Also shocking, Mr. Le Van Thang, 28, from Thai Nguyen Province, was accused of sexual exploitation after deceiving and taking male street children home.
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