The Center for Development of People (CEDEP) has registered its displeasure with the gross violations of children’s right to education by the Episcopal Conference of Malawi(ECM) and Evangelical Association of Malawi(EAM) during Tuesday’s nationwide demonstrations against legalisation of abortion and homosexuality dubbed “March for Life.”
CEDEP said it finds as ironic that the faith leaders claim to protect the family and life by demonstrating against abortion and same sex marriages.
“But during the demonstrations, there were a lot of children that were used by the church .Most of these were children wearing school uniforms especially from Chimutu Primary School in Lilongwe and St Paul in Mangochi. What baffles CEDEP is that the church leaders involved the children during learning hours to advance their agendas.
“This is very unfortunate and disappointing especially from leaders who claim to stand up for the family. It must be emphasized that among the basic and fundamental human rights of all children is the right to education. If we are indeed to protect the family, then we have to make sure that children remain in school learning so that they can contribute to the development of the nation and sustain themselves as they grow up,” reads part of the statement signed by CEDEP Executive Director Gift Trapence.
The statement adds that ‘it is hypocritical to say you are protecting a family at the same time violating the rights of children’ and that ECM and EAM should not claim that they are protecting the family by recruiting children into demonstrations during learning hours.
“This is hypocrisy and selfish behavior that destroys the family rather than protecting it. If the faith leaders claim to protect family, then they should empower children by among other things sending them to school not disempowering them by recruiting them into demonstrations.
CEDEP and its partners have stood up for rights of all Malawians including vulnerable groups like children and has denounced evils like child marriages, rape and child labor among others which have the capacity to destroy families by promoting moral decadence.
“We are in a democratic era and gone are the days when children lined up in the streets to dance and clap hands for party and government officials instead of being in classroom learning. It seems the church leaders (ECM and EAM) would like to take the country back to the dictatorial era against their claim of promoting democracy,” said Trapence.
CEDEP has called the act as out right hypocrisy which was for many times denounced by Jesus Christ from the Pharisees.