Statements and Speeches
National Statement by H.E. Deputy Ambassador Mahlatse Mminele, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Republic of South Africa to the United Nations, at the Third Committee Meeting on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Children (Item 64)
New York, 13 October 2016
South Africa fully aligns itself with the statements delivered on behalf of the Africa Group and the Southern African Development Community.
My delegation thanks the Special Representatives of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflicts, and on Violence against Children, respectively, for their comprehensive reports. These reports have not only highlighted the important progress made with regards to the various United Nations initiatives and campaigns, but they have also articulated key elements for the way forward.
The promotion, protection and respect for the rights of children is an issue to which my delegation attaches great importance. Children, are sadly victims of various forms of violence and discrimination; including but not limited to domestic violence, online and offline abuse, bullying, extremism and violent extremism, slavery, child pornography, war, armed conflicts, displacement, migration, trafficking and sale of children, childhood early and forced marriages; thus they face multiple and intersecting challenges.
Children continue to be abducted and forcibly conscripted or recruited into service throughout the world as sex slaves, helpers, guards and armed fighters. In this process, children’s rights are being violated with impunity. Many die, others are displaced from their communities and homes, disabled and allowed to suffer untold emotional, developmental, physical, psychological, mental and spiritual harm. This is evidenced, by amongst others, the unfortunate indoctrination of children by non-state armed groups.
Further to this, armed conflicts destroys state structures that provide social services. As a result, the lack of these services prevent children from accessing basic services such as education and health services, and needs such as water, sanitation and nutritious food, thereby deepening poverty. These are factors of key importance that cut across all the three core pillars of the United Nations, of human rights, peace and security and development. This situation demands immediate as well as long-term collective attention by the international community. The importance of children having access to basic services, within a safe and secure environment cannot be over-emphasized.
In conclusion, South Africa remains resolute in its commitment to the full implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), Optional Protocols and other human rights instruments promoting the rights of the child. It is indeed true, that sustainable societies can only have a prosperous future when their children are safe, free from harm and thrive in environments that prioritise the promotion, protection and fulfilment of the rights of the child. In the words of our late statesman President Nelson Mandela, “Few things make the life of a parent more rewarding and sweet as successful children.”
My delegation looks forward to working with the Chair and Member States to ensure a successful outcome to this year’s Third Committee deliberations on the promotion and protection of human rights, and in particular the rights of children.
I thank you.