International Relations and Cooperation Deputy Minister Candith Mashego-Dlamini has called on Southern-African countries to make use of the recommendations that will emanate from the global study on Children Deprived of Liberty to enhance their laws, policies and practices to safeguard the rights of children.
The Deputy Minister was speaking at the Southern-African regional launch of the United Nations Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty at Unisa in Pretoria.
"Consideration needs to be given as to how each state can implement the recommendations in the study and raise awareness, or promote a change in stigmatising attitudes and behaviour towards children who are deprived of their liberty," said the Deputy Minister.
The study looks at personal liberty as a fundamental human right guaranteed to every human being with emphasis on the liberty of children.
In line with this, Article 37 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) requires that detention of children must be a measure of last resort.
The study assesses the magnitude of this phenomenon, including the number of children deprived of liberty as well as the reasons invoked, the root causes, type and length of deprivation of liberty and places of detention.
The study further documents good practices and captures the views and experiences of children to inform the global study's recommendations.
In September 2018, South Africa presented its number of children in prison to the Global Study on Children Deprived of their Liberty.
At the time, the number of children in prison was 242, namely 132 children awaiting trial and 110 children sentenced.
United Nations Independent Expert, Prof Manfred Nowak will lead and host regional launches of the global study where best practices and information can be shared.
A successful regional launch for the Oceania region was held in Australia in October 2019 and other regional launches will take place in the Middle East, the Persian Gulf, South America and South East Asia.
In Africa, besides this launch for the SADC region, launches will also be held for the East and North African regions.