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Child marriages still a challenge in Lesotho

Mafa Moleko

Early pregnancy, child marriage ignorance to judiciary are some of the challenges facing Lesotho and affecting the lives of children thus endangering their future.

Letsema Child Right Network in its African child right summit uncovered the challenges, opportunities and successes achieved in protecting and simplifying the life of a child.

Malineo Motšepe the Secretary General of the network, said Letsema is a member of Child Right Network for Southern Africa whose responsibility is to protect the rights of the child and amplify their knowledge.

She indicated that a child is a leader to their nations and if not molded well “we will have poor leadership in Lesotho and Africa.”

She was speaking at the Child Right Network for Southern Africa (CRNSA) summit that was virtually held by 15 countries that are members to CRNSA with including Letsema.

When speaking on behalf of the ministry Social Development Thato Monyake said many challenges facing a child in Lesotho are not handled well due to some factors like poverty.

“Many rape cases are not even reported especially in poor families where the abuser will use money to mute the parents” she said, adding that children may show signs of having experimented with sexual abuse yet parents remain mum about it because of having received bribe, or even settle for out-of-court settlements wherein money does the work.

“Matters that are often settled out of court are often not best especially if a case involves a child, because they turn to be waved away without the concern of a child or irrespective of how they feel,” she said.

On the other hand, the Ministry of Justice Children Rights Officer Relebohile Liphoto said children in Lesotho do not have access to justice hence are negatively affected as their rights are violated.

“Children in our society do not know their rights and this hinders them from reporting some of the crimes,” she said highlighting especially that children in the remote places of Lesotho are often not even aware that they have rights.

She also said that culture has its way of building a barricade between children and their rights. She said to bridge the gap of knowledge on rights which seems to be a problem the ministry often assigns certain officers who will walk in villages teaching people about their rights.

The Child Right Network for Southern Africa held this summit virtually and was attended by 15 countries which are members to this organisation. In Lesotho Child Right Network coordinates children so they can grow in a world that is conducive for better growth.

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