With two weeks to go before African Child Day (June 16), the Catholic metropolitan archdiocese of Nairobi on Sunday organized special prayers for the African child, with the themes: Promote Child Rights: Campaign Against Child Abuse and Child Violence. In his homily, Auxiliary Bishop David Kamau, whose congregation included President Mwai Kibaki called on the Church to be at the frontline in defence of the rights of the child from the moment of conception. He said children need to be saved and be allowed to live a normal life. They need protection, security, love, care and sense of belonging, he stressed, adding that education is their right. And good health is their right too, the prelate further told his Sunday congregation, pointing out that shelter was equally children's right. It is time religious leaders, parents, teachers, communities and politicians stood up to protect the children, he said. Kenya, like other countries of the world has not been left out by the untold cases of child violence, child murder and molestations, he decried, adding: Almost every day, cases of children subjected to various forms of abuse are reported in the media, he said. stressing: "as a Church, we stand here today to say: Stop Child Violence: Promote Child Rights." Bishop Kamau, who also announced that this year's theme for the African Child Day will be Right to Protection: "Stop Violence Against Children, pointed out that the Catholic Church in Kenya is fully committed to the noble task of protecting our innocent children. He said that the occasion was one of the activities in the run up towards the actual day - June 16. He explained that this date is observed every year in memory of about 700 children who were massacred in June 1976 in Soweto, South Africa during the then apartheid regime as they demanded their education rights. The Day, he further pointed out was first observed in Kenya in June 1991 and since then it has become an annual national event. The prayers, which brought together about thirty groups of school children from various schools and parishes, was organized by the African Child Foundation (ACF)-Kenya, a humanitarian relief and development organisation affiliated to the Catholic Church in Kenya and currently being directed by Fr Henry Simaro, former head of the Communications Department of the Catholic Bishops in the country.
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