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Mainstreaming Child Rights in Government Decisions

We all have Human Rights, but we often forget that children are entitled to these rights too. They are our future and duty bearers must play a role to ensure that the children’s rights are realised and their voices are heard. It is, therefore, important to make sure that all decisions that govern humanity take cognisance of children’s rights.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) which South Africa ratified in 1995, changed the way in which we view and treat our children as human beings with a distinct set of rights, rather than passive objects of care and charity. Because of their stage of development and level of maturity, children are dependent on adults and decisions that adults make, for survival and development.

While adults have access to the vote to voice their interests, children are unfortunately powerless in this regard. Their sentiments and interests will remain undetectable unless conscious efforts are made to listen to them, to make them stakeholders in their development and to recognise them as citizens who also need a voice whenever important government decisions are made.

By the end of 2016, citizens of this country will be voting to put political organisations in power and allowing these political parties to be in charge of policies that influence their lives. Before we mark our X in that vote, we need to study the policies and manifestos of all the parties to ensure that the one we vote into power prioritises the best interest of the child.

A thorough and systematic assessment of all policies that govern service delivery is also needed to determine the extent to which their implementation affects children and youth. Negative effects should be minimised in an attempt to respect, protect and fulfil rights of all children, focussing on the most marginalised girls and boys who are most affected by poverty, abuse and neglect. Children are the largest recipients of social services and failure by the government of the day to deliver services renders them vulnerable and will have massive ramifications on their future. 

Children who do not have access to sanitation and clean drinking water, quality education, quality health, proper housing and so on, fall within the group that SOS Children’s Villages targets for intervention.  SOS Children’s Villages, therefore, partners with Government and other stakeholders  to care for close to 6000 children, nationally.

We cannot do it alone. 

There is an old African proverb that says: “To go fast, go alone; but if you want to go far go together”.  Together we can make a difference in the lives of many South African children who are destitute and without care, which is why the mainstreaming of child rights in Government decisions is crucial in obtaining the focus that we need to make that difference.

By Mosa Moremi, a Child Rights Advocate at SOS Children’s Villages

Interview Opportunities
If you are interested in an interview with SOS Children’s Villages, contact Anne Da Silva on (011) 894 2767 or to make the necessary arrangements.