South Africa is set to commemorate national Child Protection Week, which aims to raise awareness of the rights of children.
Now in its 22nd year, the campaign — which kicks off on Sunday until 9 June — will be observed under the theme ‘Let Us Protect All Children to Move South Africa Forward’.
The Department of Social Development on Monday urged South Africans from all walks of life to participate in the campaign and to take real action in protecting children within families and communities.
The campaign will start with the commemoration of International Children’s Day on Saturday, where children will hand over the Children’s Manifesto to government and other entities entrusted with the protection of the rights of children.
The manifesto urges the incoming sixth administration and all spheres of government to translate the children’s rights enshrined in the Constitution into a living reality.
Social Development said it is working jointly with the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, Save the Children South Africa and South African Human Rights Commission to strengthen child participation and to make the voice of children heard.
“Over the years, the CPW campaign has helped to ensure that government and all key sectors of South African society work together to ensure the protection and promotion of the rights of children,” the department said.
Despite the impressive progress that government has made in promoting and protecting the rights of children, significant challenges still remain, more so in the area of child protection.
The department said key areas of concern include child trafficking for child labour and sexual exploitation, children in conflict with the law, children living and working in the streets, child poverty and access to educational opportunities for children with disabilities, undocumented and unaccompanied children, amongst others.
The department said their activities this year will highlight the initiatives spearheaded by government and civil society organisations, with specific focus on the most vulnerable children, including those with disabilities.
The official closing of the CPW campaign will take place on Sunday, 9 June in eMalahleni, Mpumalanga.