2016-03-12 13:35:00

AMECEA countries meet for child protection seminar

Countries in the AMECEA region have committed themselves to creating a learning forum among national conferences on the protection of minors and vulnerable adults. AMECEA stands for Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa.

In the context of Pope Francis’ call for the effective protection of minors, the AMECEA Pastoral Department recently held a seminar on the “Implementation of Child and Youth Protection Policy in AMECEA Countries.” The seminar was held at Kurasini, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania from 7 to 10 March 2016, in collaboration with the Tanzania Episcopal Conference.

In opening remarks, the Secretary General of Tanzania Episcopal Conference, Fr. Raymond Saba, said, “Many children live in extreme hostile environment and are not fully protected. Many of them are growing up with violence in the home; suffering abuse, either physical or sexual, some experience emotional abuse, neglect, exploitation, exclusion or discrimination. Such violations affect growth and hamper pursuit of the children’s dreams and it is our responsibility to protect the children and their welfare, ” he said.

In emphasising the need for the Church’s resolve to promote protection of minors and vulnerable adults, Fr. Saba said that all children have the right to protection. He said children have the right to live, to be safe, to belong, to be heard, to receive adequate care and to grow up in a caring environment.

Speaking at the same event, Fr. Febian Pikiti Mulenga, AMECEA Pastoral Coordinator, said that the aim of the seminar was primarily to create a learning forum among national conferences on the promotion of and the protection of the dignity of minors and vulnerable adults, using the forms and methods, consonant with the nature of the Church.

And, speaking as a member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, Sr. Kayula Lesa, said “the family is the first place where protection for children should begin. Parents and all those who take care of children are responsible for building a protective and loving home environment. Likewise, all other Church establishments like schools, Parishes and communities are responsible for building a safe and child-friendly environment outside the child's home. In all these settings children should be fully protected so they can grow, learn and develop to their fullest potential,” Sr. Kayula said.

The three days seminar, which was attended by 22 participants from all the AMECEA member countries, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, South Sudan, Uganda and Zambia, was sponsored by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

(Source: Amecea online news)

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