Children’s rights and responsibilities

In any society, it is very important that children are protected and cared for. Children are vulnerable members of society. South Africa’s Bill of Rights states that children have special rights which include the right to “special care and assistance”.

The United Nations drew up the Convention of the Rights of the Child so South Africa is not alone in recognising that children’s rights must be protected. South Africa and a further 191 countries have signed this document.

Possible Question to ask:
How are the rights of these children not being upheld?

A special summit was held in Cape Town in 1992. This summit was attended by over 200 children between the ages of 12 and 17. As children in South Africa, they discussed the problems they faced.

The Children’s Charter of South Africa was drawn up at the end of the summit. “Children will no longer remain silent about their rights, but will speak out and even shout out their needs and demands”.

All children have the right to a name.
All children have the right to a place to live.
Children should be able to grow up with love, affection and security.
Children should not be made to work before a certain age.
Children should be beaten or abused.
All children should be cared for when sick.
Handicapped children have the right to special treatment and education.
Children should not be used as soldiers in times of war.
All children have the right to free education.
Children should not be arrested and put in jail.
All children have the right to enough food to eat.

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