Semarang (ANTARA) - Minister of Women's Empowerment and Child Protection (PPPA) Bintang Puspayoga drew attention to the issue of child marriage at the event of the National Children's Forum in Semarang, Central Java, on Thursday (July 20) evening.

Minister Puspayoga stressed that the issue still constitutes one of the country's persistent challenges, pushing for continued efforts to handle it.

"Child marriage cases are triggered by economic factors, and in some regions, by cultural factors," the minister remarked at the National Children's Forum activity opening event on the occasion of the 2023 Children's National Day (HAN) commemoration in Semarang.

On the occasion, the minister urged all parties to proactively become guardians of Indonesian children in order to prevent them from going ahead with child marriages.

"In the past one year, we have been witnessing a lot of issues related to sexual violence on social media," Puspayoga stated while highlighting sexual violence cases.

"We now can see such cases where both the victims and perpetrators are children," she pointed out.

The National Children's Forum activity in Semarang is the forum's first large-scale activity to be held in the post-COVID-19 pandemic era.

Puspayoga also said that the PPPA Ministry has been working in synergy and collaboration with the governments of Central Java and Semarang City for successfully holding the forum activity.

This year, Indonesia adopted the theme of "Children Protected, Indonesia Advanced" and the tagline of #BeraniKarenaPeduli (Dare to care) for the HAN commemoration.

The minister then called on the National Children's Forum, facilitators, and all children's forums across Indonesia to make the most of the series of ceremonial and supplementary events of the 2023 HAN, on July 20-22, to compile "Suara Anak Indonesia" (Indonesian Children's Voice).

The compilation will represent and encapsulate Indonesian children's aspirations and will later be handed over to President Joko Widodo at the 2023 HAN culmination event on July 23.

She then expressed hope that the forum's activity, themed "Rising Up, Moving Forward Together, Bringing Impacts," will motivate it to stimulate Indonesian children's optimism.

"You (the children) are the nation's future," she affirmed.

The attendees also comprised Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo and Semarang Mayor Hevearita Gunaryanti Rahayu.

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Translator: Anita Permata, Tegar Nurfitra
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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