Child protection campaign goes to Karongi
The mobile police station van extended its services to the people of Rebengera Sector in Karongi District on June 8 , 2016 where police officers engaged thousands of residents in fighting and preventing child abuse and human trafficking.
The mobile van reaches out to people residing far from police station, who wish to report or lodge their complaints to police.
Speaking to the residents, Inspector of Police (IP) Vivian Umulisa from the Rwanda National Police anti-gender based violence directorate, dwelt much on the rights of children and challenges they face.
A child, under article 217 of the penal code, is defined as every human being aged less than eighteen years of age unless otherwise provided by other laws.
“A child’s rights start from the onset of pregnancy; this is why even abortion is a criminal act and punishable by the law… terminating the pregnancy is denying the fetus to live,” IP Umulisa said.
Abortion is illegal and punishable under article 162 of the penal code, which states that “any person who carries out self-induced abortion shall be liable to a term of imprisonment of one to three years and a fine of Rwf50, 000 to Rwf200, 000.
“Children have a right to live, acquire education, clothes and protection from anything harmful including protecting them from any domestic chores or hard labour activities,” IP Umulisa said.
She reminded them that corporal punishments in the name of disciplining a child, are prohibited and punishable by law.
Inflicting severe suffering on a child, harassing or imposing severe punishments on him or her attracts a jail term of up to two years under article 218 of the penal code.
She further urged them to utilize the 116 child-helpline to report child abuses.
Chief Inspector of Police (CIP) Hubert Rutaro focused his message of the emerging security threat of human trafficking, noting that traffickers take advantage of the vulnerability and ambitions of their targets.
“Unknowingly, some ambitious people, especially the youth are likely to end up being victims. It’s imperative to verify the offers promised to you in or out of the country by either strange, relatives or friends because human trafficking can be carried within or across borders,” CIP Rutaro said.
According to Rutaro, deceit is the most used trick in human trafficking targeting the youth, promising better offers and brainwashing them with their ploys not to inform anyone about the offer.
During the tour of the mobile police van, one resident, Abdullah Kanani, filed a case about his child, who was seduced to drop out of school by another person and instead took him to Kigali for unspecified job.
Most of the cases filed at the mobile police station van, however, were civil in nature and were channeled to concerned entities including community mediators.