20 March 2019

South Africa: Children Have the Right to Protest - South African Legal Activists Make Submissions to United Nations


The right to freely assemble, demonstrate and collectively express our views is vitally important in any democracy. In South Africa, historically and at present, this right is for many citizens the most accessible means to collectively express their demands, concerns or anger on the issues of the day. However, as a society, we underestimate the importance of this right to our children.

Unlike adult citizens of South Africa who will be eligible to vote in the elections on 8 May, children cannot vote. This critical avenue by which to exercise their political power and express a political view is closed to them. This is why the ability to assemble and demonstrate is an important way in which children participate in the political life of society. The Constitutional Court has recently affirmed that "by virtue of their unique station in life, the importance of the right to peaceful assembly has special significance for children who have no other realistic means of expressing their frustrations".

The Equal Education Law Centre will this week demonstrate to the United Nations Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) why children and youth should always be given consideration when giving consent to the right to peaceful assembly. The UNHRC...

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