Top award for kids’ advocate

2012-05-26 00:00

CHILD justice Ann Skelton has received a World’s Children’s Honorary Award for her 25-year battle for the rights of children affected by the justice system.

Skelton has done groundbreaking work for South Africa’s children both in the court rooms and by changing laws affecting children.

When Nelson Mandela became president, she was asked to chair the committee writing of the new law protecting children in trouble with the law.

She has assisted, for an example, a child in a divorce case, a child mistreated at a children’s home, an unaccompanied refugee child, children being ill-treated in prison and children in “mud schools” in bad conditions.

This work has reached further than the individual children in the particular cases, it has also helped and protected all South Africa’s children in similar situations.

Skelton is a director of the Centre for Child Law at the University of Pretoria.

Sakena Yacoobi of Afghanistan also received the World’s Children’s Honorary Award for her long and often dangerous fight for girls’ right to education.

The hardline Islamist Taliban, which once ruled the country, did not recognised this right for girls.

The World’s Children Prize Foundation stated that 2,5 million children chose their child rights hero in a global vote during hundreds of World’s Children’s Press Conferences, held all over the world this week.

It went to Anna Mollel of Tanzania, for her more than 20-year struggle for Maasai children with disabilities.

Mollel became the child rights hero and the recipient of the 2012 World’s Children’s Prize for Rights.

The previous prize laureates include the children’s Decade Child Rights Heroes Graça Machel and Nelson Mandela, Hector Pieterson and Nkosi Johnson (both posthumously).

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