Children's rights in the spotlight

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Pretoria - Experts and academics are meeting in Midrand to look at the country's achievements in realising children's rights.

Under the theme, Equality in Realisation of Child Rights in SA, the three-day seminar, organised by the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) and UNICEF, will also examine the reasons that lie behind discrepancies in the fulfilment of children's rights in the country.

"While we have significant resources allocated towards the betterment of children's lives, the majority our children live in poverty and their basic needs are not met," SAHRC's commissioner Lindiwe Mokate said at the opening of the seminar.

Such disparities, she said, were starkly visible in the health sector. 

Mokate said although child mortality was on the decline in South Africa, it remained high for a middle income country, as one in 16 children die before their fifth birthday.

Her sentiments where echoed by UNICEF country representative Aida Girma, who said the gap between rich and poor children continues to widen, despite the country making strides in achieving the Millennium Development Goals. 

"Translating children's rights from principles into action is about looking behind national aggregates with an equality lens, so we can identify children who are deprived, analyse the patterns and put in place policies that address these disparities," said Girma. 

The seminar will see the release of a report card, which examines the situation of children in the country through equality and children's rights perspective.