Botswana Network on Ethics Law and HIV/AIDS last Friday filed an urgent application before the Magistrate Court of Maun seeking protection order directing that a three year old child be immediately removed from the custody of her mother.
This came about after the mother failed to protect the child from incessant physical abuse by her own father.
The Maun Magistrate Court hearing the matter in terms of section 36 of the Children’s Act granted the application and ordered that it would be in the best interests of the child that she be removed from the care of the mother. The child is currently placed under the care, control and safety of Love Botswana Outreach Mission at Lorato House Rescue Centre.
BONELA says the case was the first of its kind. According to court papers a social worker, Patience Matlhole, from Love Botswana Outreach Mission in Maun, the Applicant in the matter, stated that the child had on several occasions been assaulted by her father resulting in the child being disabled yet the mother continued to expose her child to this man.
She informed the court that injuries sustained by the child on separate occasions included paralysis on the left side of the child’s body, broken femur and ribs, a gash on her head and candle wax and flame burns on her mouth.
BONELA’s Policy and Legal Advisor, Phazha Molebatsi, who was the Applicant’s attorney, stated that every child has the inherent right to life entailing the right to survival and development which no one must interfere with and that the matter deserved to be heard on urgency.
Responding to the commencement of criminal proceedings by the Police in Maun against the perpetrator and father of the child, BONELA’s Executive Director Cindy Kelemi has emphasised the need for the Police to be prompt in intervening on children’s rights violations and be open to discussions with NGO’s working on children’s rights issues who may add value to quality of their service towards children.
BONELA also reminded the public to report any children’s rights violations which they may become aware of as also required by section 43 of the Children’s Act requiring any person with reasonable cause to believe that a child is in need of protection, to immediately report to a social worker or police officer in the district in which the child resides.