The Regional Police Commander (RPC) for the Southern Province, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Dismas Rutaganira has challenged parents in the province to recommit to their parental responsibilities and proper upbringing of children.
He observed that child negligence still remains one of the reasons why young people continue to engage in illicit activities such as drug and alcohol abuse, school dropout and sexual behaviours that lead to unwanted pregnancies.
The RPC made the call on October 6 in Huye District during a meeting that brought together representatives of police and other security organs from all districts in the region, local leaders and district coordinators of Rwanda Youth Volunteers in Community Policing (RYVCP).
The meeting also attended by the executive secretary of the Southern Province, Jeanne Izabiriza, had been convened to try to address the issue of street children and drug abuse.
As leaders, ACP Rutaganira said, they should enhance the protection of the rights of children through vigorous awareness campaigns and active engagement of parents and schools to get to the root cause of the problem.
“The issue of street children has roots in family conflicts or domestic violence; as leaders, you should identify and know families that are affected and engage them in solving their misunderstandings or advise them where they should seek further services to their problems,” the RPC said.
Because of such domestic misunderstandings, he said, at times children engage in illegal activities because they are not supervised by those directly responsible hence doing anything that pleases them and easily swayed away by peer pressure to abuse psychotropic substances.
He also embarked on the issue of corporal punishment, child labour and parents who don’t send their children to school, and urged the leaders to follow up closely such issues and ensure that all children enroll in school and defiant parents be held accountable.
Izabiriza echoed the same message noting that the issue of street children and drug abuse are related and should be given much attention.
The meeting recommended that the two issues be given emphasis in communities through awareness; strengthen operations against distillers of illicit drinks and drug traffickers and identifying and resolving some of the community and domestic issues that may lead to insecurity or child neglect.