“UNICEF is deeply concerned about the impact on children in Eswatini from the deteriorating security situation amid civil unrest. The response to this ongoing crisis should first and foremost respect and protect the fundamental rights of children under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
“Children have continued to be caught up in violence, including from armed forces in schools and in the streets. Some children have reportedly been maimed, tortured and arrested, which goes against the state’s legal accountability to children and could leave permanent or long-term physical or psychological wounds.
“We call upon all stakeholders to ensure that children are protected at all times and despite the circumstances that they might find themselves in.
“The indefinite closure of schools remains a major concern as it has devastating consequences on children from loss of learning, mental health and psychological impact and the risk of being exposed to abuse and exploitation. Schools must remain open, their structures and property should be respected, and they must be zones of peace and safe havens for children.
“There is an urgent need for positive intervention from all concerned stakeholders. Meaningful dialogue remains the best solution to avoid further violence and disruption to essential services for children and women. It is the only path to ensure that Eswatini remains a peaceful country where children can survive and thrive.
“As said by Nelson Mandela ‘the true character of society is revealed in how it treats its children.’ Let us never forget those words.”
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Childrenâs Fund (UNICEF).