Children's Rights Conference 2012

Southern Africa: Civil Society Statement On the Occasion of the 2nd Southern Africa Regional Child Rights Conference

press release

Photo: Glenna Gordon/UNESCO
Paynesville Community Elementary School in Monrovia.

Johannesburg — PREAMBLE

1.1. We, representatives of child rights focused organizations from across Southern Africa, which brought together a number of stakeholders including parliamentarians, government officials and various civil society organisations, meeting under the auspices of the CRNSA to reflect on building a strong child rights movement in Southern Africa

1.2. Inspired by the desire to see children’s rights, protected, promoted and fulfilled in a world in which every child attains the right to survival, protection, development and participation

1.3. Recognising that every child matters, all children matter irrespective of nationality, ethnicity, age, race, or gender

1.4. Cognisant of the need for a stronger movement of the child rights sector in order to speak with a unified voice for and with children.

We therefore deliberated on a number of child rights issues of concern, which should be made a priority by state parties in Southern African and the African Union. Now therefore we call upon SADC to:

1. ADOPT a specific children’s protocol

2. MAKE state parties implement the SADC basic minimum package of services.
3. ENSURE meaningful participation of children at levels of decision making, in particular ensuring that each country has a state-funded children’s parliament.
4. DOMESTICATE regional and international instruments that state parties have ratified.
5. OF NOTE, Swaziland to ratify the African Charter on the Welfare of the Child.
6. ALLOCATE and increase budgets for children at all levels while guaranteeing meticulous budget monitoring.
7. THAT, all communications from the African Union be translated to Portuguese for the benefit of countries speaking this language.
8. GUARANTEE timeous reporting to treaty bodies, especially the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, where no other southern Africa region has reported except Tanzania.
9. PRIORITIZE child abuse prevention and early intervention programs.
10. EXPEDITIOUSLY pass comprehensive child related laws and policies.
11. BE role models in championing children rights.
12. ADDRESS the contradictions arising from the existence of dual legal systems (customary law and civil law) especially where harmful practices.
13. ADOPT all outstanding Optional Protocols inter alia the Optional Protocol on communication.
14. ENSURE that there are centralised databases on specific issues are created and maintained and that these are readily accessible to multilevel stakeholders.
15. ADDRESS violence, particularly sexual violence, placing emphasis on rehabilitation and education.

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