For Immediate Release:                                                                                                                                                           

20 November 2019.

Universal Children’s Day:  Upholding the rights of children in migration

Universal Children’s day is celebrated annually on 20thNovember.  This day was established in 1954 to promote international togetherness, rights awareness among children worldwide, and improving children’s welfare.  November 20th is an important day as it is also a date in 1959 when the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child. It is also the date in 1989 when the UN General assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The convention sets out a number of children’s rights such as the right to be protected from violence and discrimination and the right to life, health and education.

This day aims to bring awareness and solidarity with children from around the world who have experienced violence in form of abuse, exploitation, discrimination based on their nationality, race, ethnicity, language and documentation status.

Despite South Africa having progressive policies, legislation and being a signatory to a number of international conventions, there are challenges with regards to the implementation of such legislation. For instance, the South African Constitution guarantees access to basic education – Chapter 2, Section 29 of the Constitution states that, “Everyone has the right to a basic education, including adult basic education”.  It is clear that both international and domestic policies guarantee rights to all children irrespective of nationality or documentation status.

On this day, CoRMSA brings attention to the plight of children in migration in South Africa. Children in migration are particularly vulnerable and prone to discrimination with their lives fully dependent on the acquisition of documentation such as birth certificates, asylum permits, refugee status or study permits.  Children in migration continue to face discrimination and numerous barriers in accessing basic services, such as enabling documentation, health and education.   Documentation for children in migration is fundamental for children’s protection and in accessing critical basic services.   It is their constitutional and fundamental right to have access to these services.

While Universal Children’s Day encourages each one of us to advocate, promote and protect children’s rights in order to build a better world for children, such, should not be limited to this day alone but a continuous struggle for justice. CoRMSA calls upon government, civil society organisations, faith-based organisations, communities/leaders and all relevant authorities to take an important stance in ensuring that the rights of children in migration and children in general are respected, promoted and upheld.

For inquiries or more information please contact: Thifulufheli Sinthumule (CoRMSA) 71 358 0059  or Muluti Phiri (CoRMSA) 711500113 or Abigail Dawson (CoRMSA) +27748515683

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