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UN Committee to review South Africa’s record on children’s rights

GENEVA (14 September 2016) – Children’s rights in South Africa will be reviewed by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child on 19 and 20 September in sessions that will be webcast live. South Africa is one of the 196 States that have ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child and so is required to be reviewed regularly by the Committee of 18 independent experts.

In addition, members will examine South Africa’s implementation of another important legal instrument known as the Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography (OPSC).

Among the possible issues to be discussed between Committee members and a government delegation from South Africa are:

  • High prevalence of violence against children, in particular sexual violence, child neglect and abandonment, and corporal punishment at home and school;
  • Harmful practices, including child marriage, virginity testing, and violent initiation rites;
  • Prevalence of child pregnancy, child malnutrition, drugs and substance abuse;
  • Negative impact of high prevalence of HIV/AIDS on children;
  • Poor quality of education and school facilities, and the insufficient provision of inclusive education;
  • Severe restriction to access to social services due to the obstacles to obtain birth registration;
  • Sustainability and adequacy of alternative care and social security for children deprived of family environment;
  • Increasing number of unaccompanied migrant, asylum-seeking and refugee children and the heightened risk they face;
  • Displacement of indigenous children and children in informal settlements owing to development projects;
  • Low age of criminal responsibility.

Regarding OPSC:

  • Trafficking of children for prostitution, forced labour, sex tourism, and organ transfers;
  • Regulation of illegal adoption, including selling of children by parents.

The full list of issues and South Africa’s submitted written report can be found here: http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/SessionDetails1.aspx?SessionID=1041&Lang=en

The discussions will take place at Palais Wilson in Geneva on 19 September from 10:00-13:00 and 15:00-18:00, on 20 September from 10:00-13:00. The meetings are public and will be webcast at http://webtv.un.org/.

Committee members will base their evaluation on the delegation’s report and replies, as well as information from civil society groups.

The Committee will issue its findings on South Africa and the other countries being reviewed - Nauru, Sierra Leone, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Suriname – on 6 October. The findings, officially known as concluding observations, will be published here:


For more information and media requests, please contact Liz Throssell +41 (0) 22 917 9466 / +41 79 752 0488 / ethrossell@ohchr.org or Cécile Pouilly 41 22 917 9310 / cpouilly@ohchr.org

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Members of the CRC are independent human rights experts drawn from around the world, who serve in their personal capacity and not as representatives of States parties. The Committee’s concluding observations are an independent assessment of States’ compliance with their human rights obligations under the treaty. To learn more about the Committee on the Rights of the Child: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/CRC/Pages/CRCIndex.aspx

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