The Committee met to consider its draft Report on South Africa’s Second, Third, and Fourth Periodic State Party Report to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child for the Period 1998 to September 2012. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child country report had been formally referred to the Portfolio Committee on Women, Children, and People with Disabilities on 26 February 2013 as well as various other relevant committees. The report provided an overview of the issues children in South Africa face through the use of statistics and outlined how children’s issues related to certain National Departments. The Committee Members made numerous changes to the report, mainly to avoid repetition and to correct typographical and grammatical errors. The Committee adopted the report.
The Chairperson opened the meeting and welcomed Members. She indicated that the Committee would consider its draft report on the United Nations Convention on the Right of the Child.
Reading of the Draft Report
Ms Neliswa Nobatana, Committee Secretary, read the Draft Report on South Africa’s Second, Third, and Fourth Periodic State Party Report to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child for the Period 1998 to September 2012, Dated 14 March 2013 aloud.
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Child was adopted and opened for signature, ratification, and accession by the United Nations General Assembly resolution 44/25 on 20 November 1989 and was entered into force on 2 September 1990, in accordance with article 49. It was one treaty that was acceded to rapidly by most countries across the world. The preamble Convention set out civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights of children.
This Convention also had two optional protocols that had subsequently been adopted by the General Assembly which were only applicable to States who signed and ratified the CRC. South Africa signed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1993 and ratified in 1995. The initial country report was submitted in 1999 and the Portfolio Committee on Women, Children, and People with Disabilities. The Committee had been aware of the Department of Women, Children, and People with Disabilities' process for obtaining input from civil society on the country report (by 22 March 2013) and for submitting the report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child by 15 July 2013.
The draft report highlighted both achievements and challenges and offered recommendations to improve the lives of children. The draft report acknowledges the right to life, survival, and development, as well as civil rights and freedoms. The draft report focused on the following issues:
Family environment and alternative care
Disability, basic health, and welfare
Education, leisure, and cultural activities
Special protection measures
The Committee also noted observations and recommendation for the Department of Women, Children, and People with Disabilities, regarding the draft periodic country report on the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Child. The Committee also noted observations and recommendations for other Departments when appropriate, including the Department of Social Development, the Department of Home Affairs, the Department of Basic Education, the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, the Department of Health, and the Department of Labour.
Members made corrected numerous typographical errors, made grammatical changes, and eliminated points of repetition in the report.
Ms E More (DA) directed Members’ attention to Section 3.3.1, which contained the Committee observations. The section read, ‘Reflection of status not uniform in terms of reporting period. Certain sections within report provide outline of entire reporting period hence trends are reflected. However, in most instances statistics for a particular year is only given.’ She asked that the Committee check that the 1998-2002 reporting period was used consistently in the report.
The Committee Researcher explained that that the report used statistics in the 1998-2012 range. She noted that in order to consistently use certain time frames, the same issues must have been addressed each year of the survey. She said that the report sometimes included statistics covering a 10-year period, statistics covering a few years, or statistics covering a single year, to give the broadest, most in-depth picture of children’s issues.
Members also noted that the Child Protection Register was not completely updated, that under the Department Social Development section, grants for children ought to be mentioned, and that under the Department of Home Affairs section, unaccompanied foreign children seeking asylum and refugee status should be clearly included.
The Chairperson concluded that for each and every observation, the Committee must ensure that there is a corresponding recommendation included in the report.
Adoption of the Report
The Chairperson asked if anyone would like to make corrections to the last page of the draft report. Seeing none, she asked if the report could be moved for adoption.
A Member moved to adopt the report.
Another Member seconded the motion.
The draft report was adopted.
The Chairperson thanked the Members for attending the meeting.
The meeting was adjourned.
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