THE South African Bill of Rights is the cornerstone of our democracy. It enshrines the rights of all people in our country and affirms the democratic values of human dignity, equality and freedom for all. The Bill of Rights says everyone has the right to life, equality and human dignity, and this includes children.
Children can be sidelined when considering human rights, but these rights are not discriminatory. They state that all people have the right to citizenship and security, and this includes children. Fever reporter Samkelisiwe Gumede spoke to the founder of Operation Bobbi Bear, Jackie Branfield, who is disappointed by the failure of the state to protect its children. “We must not forget that children are included in all the rights we have in the country. They also have their own set of rights, but human rights are for everyone.
Children have the right to safety; as much as the government has the responsibility to ensure this, parents have as much responsibility to protect their children daily,” said Branfield.
Branfield said that one of the precautions that parents can take to protect their children is to not allow sleepovers.
“In this day and age, children always want to go to sleepovers. I would say never let your child sleepover, you are simply asking for trouble. “You may know the parents of the friends and trust them, but they have other family who may visit while your child is there. You don’t know those people; just save yourself the trouble and don’t allow sleepovers.”
Other basic human rights include a healthy environment, housing, health care, food, water and social security.
Branfield continued to stress that children are to be protected by their parents and if they are at school, they must be protected by their teachers because teachers are just like parents.
“I believe parents should be held accountable if they allow their children to be abused.
They should also face jail time if they allow their children to experience any form of abuse.
“They cannot watch while a child is being abused and expect not to suffer the consequences. The department should look into finding ways to make this possible because so many children are faced with abuse while their parents sit back and do nothing,” said Branfield. To get involved with Operation Bobbi Bear, go onto the website www.bobbibear.org.za or phone 072 708 0095.