CRC Review of South Africa: Concluding Observations Released

During its 96th Session, the Committee on the Rights of the Child reviewed South Africa. As part of this process, Edmund Rice International and the Student Edmund Rice Volunteers (“SERV”) from Christian Brothers’ College, St John’s in Cape Town, had the opportunity to submit a report to the Committee highlighting issues experienced by children in South Africa. This report, alongside other submissions from Civil Society Organisations, was considered by the CRC Committee in questioning the South African delegation and formulating its concluding observations report.

Issues raised by the students at St John’s related to the rights of every child, particularly disadvantaged children, to safe, accessible, and acceptable standards of education and the impact of poor infrastructure and corruption on the realisation of this right; gender-based violence and other forms of discrimination experienced by girls and women; and finally, the increasing risk of climate change of the health and well-being of children and ensuring the participation of children in relevant decision-making processes.

Following their questioning of the South African delegation the concluding observations (or recommendations) of the Committee considered these issues and directed the South African government to implement urgent measures to strengthen its efforts to eliminate discrimination against children, address the root causes of all forms of violence, including sexual and gender-based violence against children, and ensure that all children have access to equitable and quality education leading to effective learning outcomes.

Other observations raised by the committee related to the rights of children with disabilities, the visibility of children in Climate Change-related decisions and safeguarding universal health care for children.

The opportunity to draft a report that would be considered at an international level was inspiring for the students at St John’s. It reinforced their ability to use Edmund Rice education to make a difference in the world. This process expanded their view of the Edmund Rice Network and different international organisations’ role in enforcing children’s rights. On behalf of these students, a heartfelt message of thanks and gratitude is extended to Edmund Rice International for this opportunity.

All the documents relating to the review can be viewed and downloaded here.

Taydren van Vuren – CBC St John’s, Cape Town, South Africa

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