Pretoria, 31 June 2021: Today South Africa joins the global community to celebrate International Children’s Day in the midst of the third wave of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the Minister of Social Development, Ms Lindiwe Zulu, wishes all children well and reiterates her call for all South Africans to play their role in the protection and promotion of the rights of children.
The International Children’s Day is celebrated annually on 1 June, which coincides with the Child Protection Week campaign currently underway in South Africa under the theme, “Let us all Protect Children during COVID-19 and beyond”.
The celebration also coincides with the celebrations of milestones of two important legal instruments that relate to the rights and best interest of children, namely: the twenty-five years of the adoption of South Africa’s Constitution and 32nd anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).
According to the Bill of Rights which is chapter two of the country’s Constitution serves as a cornerstone of democracy in South Africa as it promotes the rights to equality, human dignity, life, freedom, security, privacy, freedom of religion, belief and opinion as well as freedom of expression.
In its efforts of protecting children, the Department introduced the Children’s Amendment Bill which is currently in a public hearing process after which it will be presented before the two houses of Parliament, the National Assembly and National Council of Provinces.
The objective of the International Children’s Day celebration is to draw more attention into children’s rights and highlight the progress made towards the realisation, promotion and protection of the rights of children. The day is an annual activity within the Child Rights Advocacy and Social Mobilisation with the aim of creating awareness on Children’s Rights and Responsibilities.
The origin of International Children’s Day goes back to 1925, when representatives from different countries met in Geneva, Switzerland - to convene the first World Conference for the Wellbeing of Children. Following the conference, some Governments across the world set aside a day as Children's Day to highlight children's rights.
The day is celebrated in line with Child Protection Week campaign to afford children an opportunity to be aware and access their rights to survival, development, growth and participation. Unfortunately, the protection and access to children’s rights cannot take place if children’s rights are not known and promoted.
ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT