National 12.9.2016 08:18 am

UN to review state of children’s rights in SA

Picture: stock.xchnge

Picture: stock.xchnge

The UN’s Rights of the Child Committee monitors how states that have ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child are complying with its obligations.

Children’s rights in South Africa will soon be reviewed by the United Nations in Geneva.

The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child meets in Geneva from tomorrow until September 30 to review children’s rights in South Africa, Nauru, Sierra Leone, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia and Suriname.

The Rights of the Child Committee, which is composed of 18 independent experts, monitors how states that have ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child are complying with its obligations.

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The committee also reviews how states are implementing two optional protocols to the convention.

One deals with the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography. The other pertains to the involvement of children in armed conflicts.

States that are party to the convention must submit regular written reports to the committee. During the meetings in Geneva, committee members hold question and answer sessions with the respective government delegations.

“The committee bases its evaluation on the state party’s report and written replies, the delegation’s replies and also on information from other UN bodies and agencies and non-governmental organisations,” it said.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child will publish its findings on October 6 2016.

Meanwhile, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination recently expressed concern about South Africa’s “lack of hate crime and hate speech legislation to effectively prosecute perpetrators and deter further violations”.

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The committee said it was also disturbed at the rise of hate crimes and hate speech in the country, including physical attacks against certain ethnic groups and noncitizens, discriminatory statements by state officials and politicians, and the increase in the use of media and the internet to propagate racist hate speech.

The SA government announced this month that it intended to table in parliament the Prevention of Combatting Hate Crimes Bill which would tackle all related issues in this regard.

The UN committee recommended that this Bill be urgently enacted in consultation with the public.

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