Hwange district has held belated International Day of the African Child commemorations with calls for the country to strengthen the justice delivery system to ensure the protection of children’s rights.

Children from different schools in Hwange district who included members of the junior parliament converged in Matetsi for the belated commemorations which were meant to celebrate milestones recorded by the country in protecting children’s rights and to encourage different stakeholders to double efforts in tackling sexual violence cases against the girl child.

Bulawa Makililo Trust (BMT) Director Anna Mandizha-Ncube said while the country has made commendable progress in promoting children’s rights there is need to strengthen the justice delivery system and adoption of friendly policies that encourage children to report cases of gender-based violence.

“The efforts by government in promoting children’s rights need to be celebrated. However, we can do more by strengthening the justice delivery system,” she said.

Members of the junior parliament from both Zimbabwe and Namibia who graced the commemorations said there is need to encourage children to speak up against violation of their rights and to make judicial services easily accessible.

“We feel more needs to be done by all the stakeholders involved in children’s issues to encourage reporting of violations of children’s rights cases,” they said.

The International Day of the African Child has been celebrated on June 16 every year since 1991 to honour those who participated in the Soweto uprising on that day in 1976.

This year’s African Child Day commemorations were held under the theme: “Humanitarian Action: Children’s Rights First”.