International Human Rights Day Statement : The plight of children on the move.

Date: 10/12/2021

As we commemorate international Human Rights Day on 10th of December 2021 let us remember the plight of children on the move.

It is well documented that South Africa is this destination for children on the move from the SADC to the horn of Africa. This group also consists of unaccompanied and separated migrant children who traveled to South Africa alone all without their parents or legal guardians. The reasons why children end up on the streets or cross borders are complex, but it is largely due to conflict, violence, poor socio-economic conditions, lack of access to basic needs such as education and adequate shelter. More often the decision to migrate is prompted by serious human rights violations in their home countries, leaving children with no option at all but to migrate, in summary there are multiple push and pull factors that contribute to this phenomenon of extreme vulnerability in the form of social, psychological, and unfavorable political conditions


Even though South Africa has progressive legislation including the Children Act and the South African constitution which affords protection to all children within the boundaries of South Africa we still have a long way to go in addressing the many challenges and gaps in relation to child protection


Given the many difficulties children on the moose face we support the Department of Social development working document titled strategy and guidelines for children living and working in the streets the minor objective for this document is to ensure that there is a strategy in place to provide guidance to service providers on their services and programs that must be implemented and provided to these vulnerable children accordingly it also includes key collective interventions from both state actors and non-state actors however to date we have seen minimal progress when it comes to the realization of the rights of these children and youth


In line with this year’s international human rights day theme equality reducing inequalities and advanced human rights we call on the private and public sectors as well as ordinary citizens to raise awareness and call on the state to prioritize children living and working on the streets of big cities including in housing and in border towns such as Musina article one of the Universal Declaration of human rights stipulates that all human beings are Born Free and equal in dignity consequently we have Call of Duty to observe the principles of equality and nondiscrimination when dealing with these children regardless of their race origin or documentation status

There is no doubt that the migrant children including those living and working in the streets are also in need of care and protection as envisaged by the provisions of the Children Act dial are also entitled to access basic rights including the right to name and name and nationality, access to healthcare and education, identity documents and to stay in a safe environment which is free from abuse and exploitation of whatever form.

When providing assistance to children on the move we recommit ourselves to observing fundamental principles envisaged in the convention on the rights of the child including the base practices of the child principle nondiscrimination the right to survival well-being and development and largely due respect the views of the child in conclusion both state actors and non-state actors working in the protection space should ensure that children living and working on their streets are placed into places of safety and or reunited where they respect their families

We call on the Department of Social development to prioritize children living and working on the streets through the process we ask the department also to take into consideration the child’s perspective in finding alternatives to life in the streets

Refugee Rights(1)


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