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Media Statement: UNICEF-SA partner with SAHRC to advance children’s rights

4 April 2020

ATT: Editors and Reporters

UNICEF South Africa has signed a historic agreement with the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) to advance children’s rights in all spheres of society.

This includes ensuring that all children – without discrimination and regardless of migratory status - are considered and included in policies and actions responding to COVID-19 and have access to basic services such as health and education.

UNICEF and the SAHRC will work to ensure that all children have their rights to birth registration, health, immunization, early childhood development, education, shelter, food and social protection met, and that children’s voices are fully heard through their meaningful participation in society.

“South Africa has made great strides to realise the education and health rights of children. However, child protection remains a concern. South Africa has among the world’s highest levels of violence and abuse against children. This agreement will allow us to work closely with the SAHRC, the State and non-profit organisations to leverage awareness, commitment and resources for violence prevention and early intervention services, areas which are underfunded in the State budget,” said Mrs Muriel Mafico, Deputy Representative of UNICEF in South Africa.
“Children’s rights are important for all children, at all times. In times of emergency and global uncertainty around COVID-19, children are especially vulnerable, and it is important to ensure that no child is left behind. We call on all of South African society to ensure that the most vulnerable children are fed, safe and empowered during this lockdown period which seeks to protect everyone from COVID-19,” she said.
“We are delighted to sign this Memorandum of Understanding with UNICEF, paving the way for two of South Africa’s greatest children’s advocates to work together to advance children’s rights,” said Advocate Tseliso Thipanyane, the CEO of the SAHRC.
“With UNICEF’s support, we will be establishing a children’s unit within the SAHRC and will also be working on documenting the evolution of children’s rights in the country since the dawn of South Africa’s democracy.”


Media enquiries: Greer van Zyl, UNICEF South Africa, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; 079 896 3447
For SAHRC: Gushwell Brooks – Communications Co-ordinator Tel: 082 645 8573 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Understanding PAIA

The Human Rights Commission is the national institution established to support constitutional democracy. It is committed to promote respect for, observance of and protection of human rights for everyone without fear or favour.

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