Upholding children’s rights

2018-11-20 06:01

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ON November 3, South Africa commemorated Children’s Day — a day set aside to celebrate children and highlight the progress being made towards the realisation and promotion of children’s rights.

Worldwide, The United Nation’s (UN) Universal Children’s Day is set to be commemorated on November 20.

Established in 1954, this day is annually observed to promote international togetherness, awareness among children worldwide and improving children’s welfare.

According to Section 28 in the constitution of South Africa, a child is a person under the age of 18, and their best interests are of paramount importance in every matter concerning the child.


— To a name and a nationality from birth;

— To family care or parental care, or to appropriate alternative care when removed from the family environment;

— To basic nutrition, shelter, basic health care services and social services;

— To be protected from maltreatment, neglect, abuse or degradation;

— To be protected from exploitative labour practices;

— Not to be required or permitted to perform work or provide services that are inappropriate for a person of that child’s age; or place at risk the child’s well-being, education, physical or mental health or spiritual, moral or social development;

— Not to be detained except as a measure of last resort, in which case, in addition to the rights a child enjoys under sections 12 and 35, the child may be detained only for the shortest appropriate period of time, and has the right to be kept separately from detained persons over the age of 18 years; and treated in a manner, and kept in conditions, that take account of the child’s age;

— To have a legal practitioner assigned to the child by the state, and at state expense, in civil proceedings affecting the child, if substantial injustice would otherwise result;

— Not to be used directly in armed conflict, and to be protected in times of armed conflict.

If any of the above rights are violated, cases must be reported to the SAPS, Childline, or a welfare society.


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