Protecting the most vulnerable

Social Development Minister, Lindiwe Zulu, has urged South Africans to protect and promote the rights of minors, as the world celebrates International Children’s Day on Tuesday.

Annual International Children’s Day is commemorated together with Child Protection Week, which is underway in South Africa under the theme, ‘Let us all protect children during COVID-19 and beyond’.

The objective of International Children’s Day is to draw more attention to children’s rights and highlight the progress made towards the realisation, promotion and protection of the rights of children.

“The celebration also coincides with the celebration of two milestones of important legal instruments that relate to the rights and best interest of children,” the Department of Social Development said.

These include the 25-year anniversary of the adoption of South Africa’s Constitution and the 32nd anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).

The Bill of Rights, which is chapter two of the country’s Constitution, serves as the cornerstone of democracy in South Africa, as it promotes the rights to equality, human dignity, life, freedom, security, privacy, freedom of religion, belief, opinion and freedom of expression.

“In its efforts of protecting children, the department introduced the Children’s Amendment Bill, which is currently in a public hearing process, after which it will be presented before the two Houses of Parliament — the National Assembly and National Council of Provinces,” said the department.

The department said the origin of International Children’s Day goes back to 1925, when representatives from different countries met in Geneva, Switzerland, to convene the first World Conference for the Wellbeing of Children.

Following the conference, some governments across the world set aside a day as Children’s Day to highlight children’s rights.

The day is also an opportunity to afford children to be aware and access their rights to survival, development, growth and participation.

“Unfortunately, the protection and access to children’s rights cannot take place if children’s rights are not known and promoted,” said the department.

Source: South African Government News Agency