Visit of the Director-General of the Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities, Dr Nonhlanhla Mkhize, to the United Nations in Geneva
The Director-General of the Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities, Dr Nonhlanhla Mkhize, participated in the United Nations Human Rights Council from 10 – 14 February 2011 to draft an international instrument which will provide a communications procedure that would offer to children globally an equivalent level of protection to that provided in many other international core human rights treaties.
Dr Mkhize believes that this significant instrument will enhance the principle of child participation, as the Convention on the Rights of the Child is the only core international human rights instrument which still lacks a communication procedure. This will complement the provisions in the South African Constitution which outlines the specific rights of the child and their access to care, to basic services, and to be protected from maltreatment, neglect, abuse or degradation. South Africa has ratified the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of Children together with other member states of the African Union. In this context, the Director-General addressed the member states of the African Union in Geneva on the way forward to achieve an effective mechanism for children to ensure the actual realisation of their rights.
South Africa has also ratified two international Optional Protocols, on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography and on the involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, and will work with the African Union and the United Nations to adopt an international instrument that affords protection to the child by a communications procedure.
Dr Mkhize declared that South Africa will also work to achieve universal ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child that will augment the best interests of children in South Africa.
14 February 2011