Paulina Quintao – The President of Women's Association for Manatuto Municipality (AFM) Clara de Carvalho Ximenes said its members are working with municipal based child protection officials to deliver an awareness raising campaign about children' rights in the community.
She added that violations of children' rights in rural area is high, children are not being adequately protected by the government, and communities lack knowledge and are poorly coordinated.
"We work with local government, with the Ministry of Social Solidarity and the Community Police to spread information about the child protection to communities," said women's representative Ximenes in Dili.
She is greatly concerned with the violence against minors that takes place in rural areas and that is often dealt with the traditional justice system.
"There should be a law that ensures that these types of cases are not dealt with using the informal justice system because this only benefits those who have power and so they can keep on repeating these actions against vulnerable people," she said.
Meanwhile the Secretary of State for the Promotion of Socio-Economy for Women (SEM) Veneranda Lemos Martins urged the Manatuto Municipal Administrator to work with the women' associations because it was established to promote the women' participation in rural areas and to advocate for children's rights.
She also called on the administrators and the municipality secretaries to work with the municipality women's association to promote greater gender equality, address domestic violence issues and other violence committed against children.