Africa 19.9.2016 08:14 am

SA to account to UN for progress on realising child rights

Picture: Supplied.

Picture: Supplied.

Key questions around children’s rights to be observed include progress made on education, health, social security, violence, and child protection.

A delegation of the South African government will meet the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (UNCRoC) in Geneva, Switzerland, on Monday and Tuesday to discuss South Africa’s progress in realising children’s rights.

The meeting will provide an opportunity to address pressing issues on the wellbeing of children in South Africa, the Alternate Report Coalition – Children’s Rights South Africa (ARC-CRSA) said in a statement.

The dialogue should engage questions on progress on education, health, social security, violence, and child protection, among others. These were some of the critical issues facing South African children.

Almost two-thirds (63 percent) of children in the country lived below the upper-bound poverty line and were subject to inequalities in access to quality services and opportunities.

The Geneva meeting would be of particular interest to the ARC-CRSA, an alliance driven by 11 leading organisations on children’s rights in the country.

The ARC-CRSA had compiled one of South Africa’s alternate reports that was presented to the UNCRoC in 2016. These alternate reports served as civil society’s response to the country reports that governments were expected to submit every five years under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).

“The ARC-CRSA’s report recognises progress in areas such as provision of the child support grant, measures taken to increase access to education and early childhood development services, and the drop in child mortality rates since 2006,” said the ARC-CRSA.

“But the report also raised serious concern in areas such as child protection and violence, birth registration, child poverty and inequality, social grants, the foster care system, failures in the education system, and health care priorities.”

The ARC-CRSA hoped that at the dialogue on Monday and Tuesday the government would be asked to account for “ever weakening political leadership and governance structures for realising children’s rights, to address the reasons behind persistent failures in budget allocations and/or spending to realise children’s rights, and the deepening social and economic inequality”.

These resulted in children in South Africa having very different lived experiences depending on the circumstances of their birth. The children with the greatest vulnerabilities experienced greater exclusion and discrimination, the ARC-CRSA said.

The coalition comprises of the Centre for Child Law, University of Pretoria; Children’s Institute, University of Cape Town; Childline South Africa; Community Paediatrics, University of the Witwatersrand; Dullah Omar Institute, University of the Western Cape; Equal Education Law Centre; Lawyers for Human Rights; Legal Resources Centre; Resources Aimed at the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect; Save the Children South Africa; and Sonke Gender Justice.

African News Agency (ANA)

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