Meeting between the South African Human Rights Commission and the Deputy Chair of the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child
On 26 February 2015, the Deputy Chair of the African Union’s Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (Committee), Prof. Julia Sloth-Nielsen briefed the South African Human Rights Commission (Commission) on the Concluding Recommendations by the Committee following the discussion of South Africa’s Initial Report on the Status of the implementation of the Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. The Committee is part of the African Union and the meeting has been hailed as a significant step because it marks the beginning of a laudable effort by the Region to effectively give recognition to the work of National Human Rights Institutions.
The meeting was held in the year that the Region celebrates 25 years of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child and it is therefore critical that African countries take stock of the progress made in the implementation of the Charter to improve the lives of children on the continent of Africa.
Towards this end, Professor Sloth-Nielsen discussed the Committee’s Concluding Recommendations on South Africa’s report on the status of implementation of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child.
The Committee applauded South Africa for some of the advances the country has made, especially in the area of progressive legislation and policy. The recommendations made by the Committee are wide ranging and all encompassing. Among the issues dealt with are; violence, poverty, inequality; capacity building among those who work for and with children; the rights of children imprisoned with parents; the importance of a reliable coordination system for the realisation of children’ rights; as well urging the South African government to harmonise its legislation on the minimum age of marriage; take necessary measures to combat ukuthwala.
The Commission accepted the recommendations made by the Committee and commended the Committee for its work. The Commission commits to create awareness of the recommendations and encourages the South African government to implement them. As an essential part of its mandate, the Commission will engage all affected government departments on the recommendations and also monitor their implementation.
The Commission will also try and disseminate the recommendations to the public and concerned stakeholders where capacity allows.
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