Roebuck allegations highlight abuse: ZUPA

Institutional sexual abuse, including allegations that a South African man abused Zimbabwean children in his care, has been highlighted by the Zimbabwe Unemployed People’s Association.

The Zimbabwe Department of Social Services was recently given assistance by UN Agencies and donor communities to undertake work on Residential Care Standards, Inter Country Standard Operating Procedures for Children and a review of the Multi Sectoral Protocol on Child Sexual Abuse. This work and its results remain largely unknown and inaccessible.

“ZUPA has made a deliberate decision to highlight the right of the child because Zimbabwe is failing to uphold the articles of the Convention on the Right of the Child which became law on 11th October 1990,” a press statement reads.

The organisation has called for a public enquiry into the case of the late Peter Roebuck who has been accused of sexually abusing young boys he recruited from orphanages in Zimbabwe.

ZUPA has called on the Ministry of Labour and Social Services to set up a commission of inquiry, including a thorough investigation of all the orphanages and boarding schools. They also appealed to those running the Consolidated Appeals programme fund to consider putting money towards the inquiry and protective measures.

“If the words of Roebuck’s first known victim, Psychology Maziwisa, are to believed, these boys are victims of the state’s failure to protect children,” said ZUPA.

Roebuck (55) committed suicide on November 12, 2011 in Cape Town, South Africa when police were poised to arrest him on charges of indecently assaulting a 26-year-old male, Zimbabwean university student Itai Gondo.

A common problem identified by ZUPA is that children are desperate to find ways to pay for their education. In response to this, the organisation is leading a national campaign to ensure that all children whose parents cannot afford school fees have them paid in full by the Basic Education Assistance Module (BEAM).

BEAM is a facility that was introduced in 2001 to ensure that every child in Zimbabwe has access to education.

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