|Optional protocol||on the involvement of children in armed conflict, on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography|
|Corporal punishment||Corporal Punishment is prohibited.|
|Overview of the child rights situation|
The Committee is concerned at the serious divide in access to basic services and an adequate standard of living in the country on the basis of race, geography and economic status, with a disproportionate disadvantage for children living in rural areas and in urban informal settlements.
In addition, the South Africa report reveals that children have poor access to basic services and child protection services and are exposed to increased levels of violence, abuse and harassment. Many children die due to violence, child malnutrition, and the lack of HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment.
|Situation of intersexual and transsexual children||The Committee is concerned at the high prevalence of harmful practices in the State party, which include intersex genital mutilation. The Committee urges the State party to guarantee the bodily integrity, autonomy and self-determination of all children, including intersex children, by avoiding unnecessary medical or surgical treatment during infancy and childhood.|
|Female genital mutilation and reproductive rights|
The Committee welcomes the development of a legislative, policy and institutional framework to combat gender-based violence. However, the Committee is seriously concerned at the high prevalence of gender-based violence against children, in particular in rural areas and urban informal settlements, both in the home and in schools. Further, the Committee is concerned about the high prevalence of sexual violence and the low age of the victims, the majority of whom are under 15 years of age, with reportedly an increase in the number of victims under 7 years of age. To improve the situation, the Committee, inter alia, urges the State Party to raise public awareness, through the media and through education programmes, and engage men and boys and women and girls, on gender equality and the rights of the child.
The Committee is also concerned at the high prevalence of harmful practices in the State party, which include child and forced marriage, virginity testing, witchcraft, female genital mutilation, polygamy and violent or harmful initiation rites. The Committee is also concerned that, although the practice of ukuthwala involving children is considered an “abuse of ukuthwala” and is a crime, as the State party noted during the dialogue, this practice still exists.
|Racism, children belonging to a minority and indigenous children||The Committee is concerned at the serious divide in access to basic services and an adequate standard of living in the country on the basis of race.|
|Situation of children with disabilities|
The Committee is concerned at the multiple layers of discrimination and exclusion faced by the majority of children with disabilities in the State party, as well as at the lack of accurate and comprehensive data on children with disabilities and effective provision of reasonable accommodation, such as through the provision of assistive devices and of services in Braille and in sign languages. To improve the situation, the Committee recommends that South Africa strengthen systematic and comprehensive collection of disaggregated data on children with disabilities and utilize the outcome to make policy responses more evidence-based and better suited to the needs of children with disabilities.
The Committee welcomes the efforts made to provide inclusive education to all children, including children with disabilities, by developing full-service schools. But education has low quality and inadequate curriculum content for children with disabilities, especially those with psychosocial disabilities, autism spectrum disorders, and sensory disabilities, which do not enable them to pursue higher education, employment, and independent living after completing their schooling. The Committee therefore recommends to improve the quality, adequacy and adaptability of education provided to children with disabilities, in order to facilitate their fullest possible social integration and individual development.
|Situation of asylum-seeking, refugee and migrant children||The Committee is concerned at the increasing number of unaccompanied children migrating into the State party, the heightened risk of destitution, exploitation, violence and abuse faced by unaccompanied children and the lack of accurate and disaggregated data on migrant, asylum-seeking and refugee children, including those who are unaccompanied and/or undocumented, as well as on child victims of trafficking. Further it is concerned about the risk of deportation that is faced by migrant, asylum-seeking and refugee children due to the lack of legislation to allow permanent settlement in the State party as a durable solution.The Committee recommends that the State party strengthen systematic and disaggregated data collection on migrant, asylum-seeking and refugee children, in particular unaccompanied and/or undocumented children, as well as on child victims of human trafficking, and conduct a study on their situation as a basis for effective responses.The Committee notes the large number of children who arrive in the State party as unaccompanied asylum-seeking or refugee children from countries recently affected by armed conflicts and is concerned at the lack of procedures to identify children affected by and/or involved in armed conflicts, including children being recruited as child soldiers.|
|Free kindergarten||Not clear|
|Free primary and secondary school||No|
The Committee welcomes the efforts made to focus on primary health care and community health care as well as to expand child immunization coverage. However, the Committee is concerned at the disparity in health-care provision between rural and urban areas, as well as between the public and private sectors and the low quality of the health-care service. To guarantee every child the right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health, the Committee recommends that the State party improve the quality of health-care services in general as well as the quality of specialist health-care services for children, allocating sufficient human, technical and financial resources and building the capacity of professionals working in the health-care system. The State party should further strengthen its efforts to reduce disparities in health-care service provision across the country, with a strong focus on improving access to public primary health care.
Concerning adolescent health, the Committee notes that the State party is developing new guidelines for youth and adolescent health in order to address adolescent health comprehensively. However, it is concerned at the heightened health risks that adolescents are exposed to, including the disproportionately high rates of HIV infection, Tuberculosis infection, maternal death and alcohol and substance abuse. The Committee recommends that the State party expedite the completion of new guidelines for youth and adolescent health, covering sexual and reproductive health, mental health, violence, and alcohol and substance abuse.
|Relation to other countries|
The Committee is concerned about the high rates of depression.
|Impacts of climate change|
The Committee recommends to establish a clear regulatory framework for the business enterprises operating in the State party to ensure that their activities do not negatively affect human rights or endanger environmental and other standards, especially those relating to children’s rights. Also, South Africa should conduct an independent study on the impacts on children’s health from environmental pollution caused by the activities of extractive industries, including the impacts from water pollution and from dust from mining, and ensure effective implementation by business enterprises, especially large-scale and artisanal extractive enterprises, of international and national environmental and health standards.
The Committee is concerned that activities of business enterprises operating in the State party, in particular those of extractive industries, have a negative impact on the enjoyment of the rights of the child, including through environmental pollution and the exploitation of child labour.
|Situation of juvenile justice|
The Committee is concerned that a large number of children are held in pretrial detention, and there is a lack of access to educational, health and other services, especially for those in pretrial detention. In addition to that, detention facilities are overcrowded. To improve the situation, the Committee recommends that the State party reduce the number of children held in pretrial detention and guarantee access to education, health care and other benefits for all children in detention. In addition to that, the Committee recommends that the State party immediately take the measures necessary to reduce overcrowding of detention facilities.
The Committee strongly recommends to carry out regular monitoring and ensure that measures adopted in such legislation, regulations and guidelines guarantee the birth registration of all children in the State party, including non-nationals.
The Committee welcomes the substantial expansion in social security coverage for children in the State party, which has resulted in an overall decline in child poverty.
|Last Updated (date)||1st of March, 2022|