The minister made this observation yesterday when speaking to senior journalists and editors at a three-day training session on child rights. The training was organized by an association of journalists for development issues in collaboration with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).
She said Zanzibar cannot meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) if the current trend of child abuse will be left unattended.
Riziki Pembe said that despite imposing laws prescribing harsh penalties for perpetrators, child abuse cases have been increasing on a daily basis and worse still those cases are mainly acts by close relatives.
“Violence is a daily reality for significant numbers of women and children in Zanzibar. The immediate and long term social, health and economic consequences of violence against women and children represent a key challenge to national development,” she said, appealing to media practitioners to invest heavily in the area and address the challenge.
The minister said that the Zanzibar government was ready to work closely with media practitioners in ending the menace
The UN agency had raised concern over rampant child abuse where child abuse affects two out of three children born in the islands. The UN report says that 6 out 10 boys and 7 out of 10 girls had experienced violence in different forms in the islands.
UNICEF says that child abuse in Zanzibar is connected with abuse and violence against women where one out of nine women experience sexual abuse.
The UNICEF representative in Zanzibar, Maha Damaj said the culture of silence in Zanzibar has been a cause of rising child abuse where parents keep silent when their children fall victim to physical assaults.
She also said that the UN agency was ready to support the implementation of the five- year National Action Plan to end rampant abuse of children and women in the island.
Through support from UN agencies, the Zanzibar government is looking to implement a five-year plan aimed at protecting children in the islands.
The Isles authorities will ensure that women and children are protected from gender and child violence through the program that is expected to cost about US$ 20 million.