Jakarta (ANTARA News) - In a bid to end violence against children in Indonesia, National Childrens Day 2016 was for the first time observed in West Nusa Tenggaras provincial city of Mataram, instead of the State Palace in Jakarta.

In an effort to stimulate the children into being aware of their significant role in the country, National Childrens Day is held every year for them.

Considered the most valuable resources of the nation, Indonesian children are a powerful force in its development and stability.

To prepare themselves to be the strength of the nation, children should be industrious in their study, make use of their time wisely, be disciplined and diligent, in addition to being helpful to each other, be unselfish, and be aware of their rights, duties and responsibilities towards society.

Observing National Childrens Day is also an effort to arouse the communitys interest to protect and make Indonesian children happy as one of their responsibilities toward the nations next generation.

Coordinating Minister for Human Development and Culture Puan Maharani has also expressed her hope that National Childrens Day, which was observed in Mataram Saturday, was not merely a ceremonial event.

It should motivate all parties to protect children by right, so that they can participate in the nations progress in accordance with their dignity, according to Maharani.

Children have the right to play, to get education, to be protected, and to get medical facilities, apart from developing and participating in the national development, according to their age.

There are 87 million children in Indonesia, which is 34 percent of the total population of the country, and they are the future of Indonesia, the Coordinating Minister for Human Development and Culture stated.

"After their adulthood, children must have character and master technology in order to win, while competing globally and transforming Indonesia into a developed country," Maharani remarked.

In commemorating National Childrens Day this year, Minister Maharani expressed the hope that Indonesian children will always be eager to study, be devoted to their parents, and love their motherland.

More than 3,000 children from all over Indonesia attended the National Childrens Day 2016 in the city of Matara, West Nusa Tenggara Province, Saturday.

Among the more than 3,000 children attending the event were orphans, street children, and children, who were undergoing the disciplinary process.

In her speech to mark the commemoration of the event, Women Empowerment and Child Protection Minister Yohana Susana Yembise said the event was also observed in various regions across the country.

"This year, the event was for the first time implemented outside the State Palace, and Mataram was the first city to host the event," Yembise revealed.

One out of every four boys experiences physical violence, while one out of every seven girls experiences physical violence, which includes sexual assault, according to the minister.

It was a matter of great concern that 77 percent of boys and 85 percent of girls did not know about the existence of child protection services, she said.

The public must play a more active role in decreasing child violence, Yembise affirmed while laying emphasis on the importance of preventive efforts in child protection.

Protecting the children means preventing them from negative actions such as violence, crimes and other maltreatment.

Nowadays, children are drawn to crime, therefore parents in particular and the community in general, must protect them.

In May 2016, President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) signed Government Regulation No.1/2016, which was the second amendment to Law No.23/2002 on Child Protection, giving judges enough room to impose heavier punishment on those guilty of raping and murdering children.

The regulation was aimed at dealing with an emergency situation as the number of cases of sexual violence against children were on the rise, President Jokowi said at the time.

The decree will regulate the enhanced sentence and additional sentences for such perpetrators, he explained.

"These crimes have undermined the development of children, and have disturbed our sense of peace, security and public order," he pointed out, adding, "We will handle it in an extraordinary way."

The increased sentence includes an additional one third of a sentence for criminal charges, death penalty, life imprisonment, or a jail sentence, with a minimum punishment of 10 years and a maximum of 20 years.

As for additional sentences, these will include revealing the identities of perpetrators, castration by chemical method, and installation of an electronic tracking device.

The People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) Deputy Chairman Hidayat Nur Wahid lauded the government�s policy, and particularly praised the move to enhance punishment against those committing violence against children.

The public also demanded the most stringent punishment for such serious offenders, since cases of sexual violence against children were increasing, he pointed out.

The public should also lend moral support to the prosecutors and judges to impose severe punishment on these offenders, he emphasized.(*)

Reporter: Otniel Tamindael
Editor: Heru Purwanto
Copyright © ANTARA 2016