Wunmi, I’ve decided to become a judge when I grow up.
Why that decision?
I want to give a ruling on Tope’s case. We had a talk last night and it opened my eyes to a brand new world.
Do you know that Tope’s daily food depends on what she sells at her Auntie’s shop?
Supposing she sells nothing, then she eats nothing?
Yes! And I say that is wicked and illegal. People often forget that society is guided by rules and laws.
Tope’s Aunt has broken the rules of our people that guide our relationships with one another, whether they be written or not.
She also broke the laws. Laws are made by the government as a rule of actions formally recognized as enforced by the government.
Rules and laws are established to protect people like Tope from people like her Aunt.
There’s another category of laws that we talk about a lot – international human rights. These come from agreements that countries make to protect the basic human rights of people, just by being human.
There are laws that protect children especially because they are seen as being vulnerable.
This concern for children led to the adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in the year 1989 and Nigeria adopted its contents in the year 1990.
Rights of the Child - Right to life- Every child has a right to live and develop - the child’s life should not be endangered or taken prematurely. - Right to health care - Every child has a right to good health care and services to prevent and treat sicknesses.
- Right to social security - All children have a right to social security, which includes the provision of essential basic needs such as food, shelter and clothing. - Right to family life – Children have a right to a healthy and safe home with their parents or other family members.
- Right to education- All children have a right to attend school. Education prepares a child to live in a free society in a spirit of understanding peace and tolerance. - Right to recreation-Every child has a right to have fun and have a time to rest. After all, all work and no play makes Udeme a dull boy.
- Right to privacy- A state must protect a child’s private life and protect the child from people who try to interfere with this privacy in wrong or unlawful ways. - Right to be protected- Children must not be treated cruelly, tortured or punished in a cruel manner, and should not be sexually abused.
- Right to choice- Children have the right to chose their religious beliefs, have ideas, think freely, speak freely and voice their opinions. - Right of the disabled child- children with physical and mental difficulties have the right to live a full and decent life in dignity. They have the right to special care in areas of education, training and health care.
These rights of children apply to all aspects of their lives, including their sexuality.
Laws on sexuality which are designed to protect people from both sexual assault and sexual harassment have become very controversial.
This controversy arises out of cultural differences – some cultures don’t agree with giving women and children full rights.
By this, you are saying that what is acceptable to one culture may not be to another. And some cultural traditions aren’t in line with international human rights instruments.
Very true! While polygamy is culturally accepted in some places, it is considered to be an offence in others.
Yes, it’s like a marriage between people with a close kinship – some cultures accept it, and some forbid it.
Whether laws on sexuality are controversial or not, they continue to be of great concern to all the members of the community.
I totally agree. That’s why laws and regulations about sexuality are so common, and so widely known in most communities.
Even schools are in the fore-front of this campaign. They make several rules and regulations to protect their pupils from any manner of sexual harassment or assault. Sexual harassment or assault are also illegal in most countries including Nigeria.
Everybody needs to know their rights so that they can know when their rights are being denied.
Any one who violates on the rights of another should be brought to book.
According to the evidences provided before me, I hereby find Tope’s aunt guilty of child abuse.
page 1 / 34