CAPE TOWN, April 5 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) on Friday reaffirmed its support for South Africa to end child abuse in the country that has been plagued by the scourge for long.
"UNICEF's core focus in South Africa is on ending violence against children," the organization said in a statement emailed to Xinhua.
UNICEF was reacting to allegations of serious child abuse at a South African nursery school where a female caregiver physically abused young children.
A video showing the abuse has gone viral on social media, and UNICEF said it was "appalled at the content of the video showing the caregiver at the creche physically abusing young children whilst the other caregiver was capturing the horrifying footage."
The Carletonville nursery school in Gauteng Province, northeastern South Africa, has been closed and the caregiver in question has been arrested following public outrage over the incident.
The fact that this incident occurred in what is considered a "safe" space, namely, a nursery school, denies these children their dignity and their right to be secure, UNICEF said.
The organization said it would like to see the perpetrators of this crime facing the full might of the law so that this acts as a deterrent.
UNICEF cited statistics which show that one in three children experience violence in South Africa, often by an adult who is supposed to be taking care of them.
UNICEF said it has been assured by the progressive legal framework in this country that justice will be served and that the children and the families affected will receive necessary support.
Both the Constitution of this country and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, of which South Africa is a signatory, remind people that every child in South Africa has the right to be protected from all forms of violence, abuse, exploitation and neglect in their homes and in their communities, said UNICEF.
The United Nations has ranked South Africa as among the world's 10 most violent nations. According to police, 800 to 900 children are murdered every year in the country.