"Protect us from every form of sex crimes, and impose severe punishment against the perpetrators," the first point in the appeals made by children read.
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesia observes the National Childrens Day every July 23 to remind every element in the community that children are the most valuable asset that have to be protected jointly.

Besides, children are the younger generation that will determine the future of the nation.

This years theme of the Childrens Day is "Stop Violence Against Children" as assaults and violence, particularly sexual ones, against children are still quite rampant in this country.

Besides, the Womens Empowerment and Child Protection Ministry focused on three issues - sexual violence, child marriage and child prostitution, as it commemorated the Day this year.

Local district and provincial administrations across the country organized various activities to observe the Childrens Day, which was commemorated for the first time in 1984.

The government backed events for commemoration of the Day, however, were centered in Mataram, West Nusa Tenggara Province, because the province witnesses a large number of child marriages.

A declaration against child marriage was the subject of a campaign in 19 districts and cities of West Nusa Tenggara during the commemoration day.

On the occasion, Womens Empowerment and Child Protection Minister Yohana Yambise received the Voices of Indonesian Children, a list of appeals made by the children and conveyed by the National Forum of Children.

"The Indonesian Childrens Voices are akin to the homework that the government must do in cooperation with other partners," the minister stated in Mataram, on July 23.

The 2016 Indonesian Childrens Voices comprised 12 points with a call to protect them from sex crimes, an issue that topped the list.

"Protect us from every form of sex crimes, and impose severe punishment against the perpetrators," the first point in the appeals made by children read.

The second point referred to the need to "sign the FCTC (Framework Convention on Tobacco Control), and the third urged the government to "make us stay away from illicit drugs."

The other nine points are: "make our schools and curriculum child friendly right up to remote areas"; "protect us from getting married too young"; "involve us, listen to us, and fulfill our aspirations and ensure our participation"; stop exploitation and discrimination"; "show child-worthy TV programs"; "protect us from any form of pornography, pornoaction, and sexual deviance"; "facilitate and improve services for birth certificate issuance"; "build public facilities for children with disability"; and "build child friendly playgrounds."

In the meantime, Deputy Chairman of the Indonesian Children Protection Commission (KPAI), Susanto, expressed his hope in Jakarta that the National Childrens Day would add momentum to intensify efforts for protection of children including when they are in school.

According to the KPAI data, the number of violence cases against children in the country during the 2011-2015 had increased significantly.

In 2011, the number was 2,178 cases, up to 3,512 cases in 2012, 4,311 cases in 2013 , 5,066 cases in 2014, and 6,006 cases in 2015. From January to April 2016, there were 289 cases, or up 18 percent from the same period in the previous year.

Most of the cases were sexual violence. Ironically, many of the criminals were those close to the victims, such as fathers, brothers, uncles, grandfathers, neighbors, or teachers. Tragically, some of the criminals were children.

Chairman of the National Commission for Protection of Children (Komnas PA) Arist Merdeka Sirait said that main factors that caused violence were illicit drugs, alcohol, and pornography.

He mentioned that over 10 Indonesian children were victims of physical or verbal violence or assaults, and around 58 percent of the cases were sexual violence.

Earlier, Education and Culture Minister Anies Baswedan had reminded parents to not overburden their children in school.

"Schooling is a marathon journey, not a sprint or a 100-meter short run, but a long journey," the minister noted when paying an impromptu visit to an elementary school, recently.

The most important aspect is how to get children to love school, he emphasized.

"Therefore, excessive burden must not be placed on children. Let the children study according to their way rather than our way," Baswedan stated before parents, who were accompanying their children to the first day of school.

Teachers and parents are expected to encourage the children but to not place undue burden by setting a certain score target that they have to achieve, the minister emphasized.

"They will live in a different era. Educate them to develop a liking for the studying process. Parents must also learn and so should the teachers," Baswedan pointed out.

The minister has issued a circular urging parents to accompany their children to the first day of school.

"Education is a form of collaboration between educators at home and school. To this end, communication is necessary," he added.(*)

Reporter: Fardah
Editor: Heru Purwanto
Copyright © ANTARA 2016