SA rat­ing at 103 in Kids’ Rights In­dex not good enough

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS -

THE SOUTH African Hu­man Rights Com­mis­sion (SAHRC) be­lieved the coun­try was fail­ing to act in the best in­ter­ests of its chil­dren.

This came on the heels of last week’s na­tional Child Pro­tec­tion Week, which put a spotlight on South African chil­dren and served as a pre­cur­sor to Youth Month.

“At this time in our coun­try this is a much-needed time to re­flect more deeply,” the SAHRC said.

The com­mis­sion is ex­pected to im­ple­ment spe­cial mea­sures na­tion­ally to ad­vo­cate for the pro­tec­tion and pro­mo­tion of the rights of chil­dren.

The con­sti­tu­tion en­shrines var­i­ous rights for chil­dren, such as ba­sic health care and so­cial ser­vices, ba­sic nu­tri­tion and shel­ter, and fam­ily care or an ap­pro­pri­ate al­ter­na­tive.

How­ever, the com­mis­sion said, “these rights ap­pear to be vi­o­lated with ease in our so­ci­ety”.

“It is a con­cern for the com­mis­sion that, within the ex­ten­sive hu­man rights frame­work in our con­sti­tu­tion, chil­dren re­main among South Africa’s most vul­ner­a­ble per­sons.”

It recog­nises that chil­dren are vul­ner­a­ble to so­cial con­di­tions such as crime, poverty, ill health and poor ed­u­ca­tion, among oth­ers.

In re­sponse, the com­mis­sion has cre­ated spe­cial com­plaints pro­ce­dures and spa­ces within all of its of­fices coun­try­wide to be bet­ter able to serve chil­dren.

Ac­cord­ing to the com­mis­sion, these are ef­forts to sup­port chil­dren as di­rect com­plainants and form a part of the range of in­ter­ven­tions to ad­vance the rights of chil­dren.

Mean­while, Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma said, dur­ing a Par­lia­men­tary de­bate on the Pres­i­dency bud­get vote last week, that al­though progress had been made in re­gards to pro­tect­ing chil­dren, more needed to be done.

“We cel­e­brate these achieve­ments of our coun­try to­day, while also not­ing the work we must still do to im­prove the lives of chil­dren in in­for­mal set­tle­ments and ru­ral ar­eas of our coun­try.

“We re­main fully aware of our re­spon­si­bil­i­ties in this re­gard, as a car­ing gov­ern­ment,” he said.

A new re­port from in­ter­na­tional NGO Save the Chil­dren added that one quar­ter of the world’s chil­dren are be­ing de­nied a child­hood.

Helle Thorn­ingSch­midt, the chief ex­ec­u­tive of the or­gan­i­sa­tion, made a brief ap­pear­ance last week at an early child­hood de­vel­op­ment cen­tre in Setjwetla, Alexan­dra.

Thorn­ing-Schmidt said: “Of the 172 coun­tries we looked at, South Africa comes out at No 103, which is not good enough for a coun­try like South Africa.”

Last year, South Africa came in at 109, out of 163 coun­tries ac­cord­ing to a global rank­ing of chil­dren’s rights re­leased by Kids’ Rights In­dex.

“As a South African, I think we’ve gone numb on the is­sues of chil­dren,” Save the Chil­dren South Africa chief ex­ec­u­tive Gugulethu Nde­bele said at the launch.

“We need to stop be­ing re­ac­tionary.

“Our emotions flare up when we hear these hor­rific re­ports of gen­der-based vi­o­lence and bru­tal at­tacks on our chil­dren – as they should – but then we go back to our daily lives,” she said.

“We need to in­vest in pre­vent­ing these in­ci­dents from tak­ing place, pro­tect our chil­dren and re­claim their child­hood.

“We have com­fort­ably re­duced the lives of chil­dren and women to hash­tags in­stead of tak­ing ac­tion.”

The new re­port also re­vealed South Africa had the

Chil­dren’s rights vi­o­lated with ease in SA

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