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The Children's Charter South Africa

Know your children's rights and empower them by making sure they know their rights so they can protect themselves:

The Children Charter of SA

Article One Freedom from Discrimination

1. All children have the right to protection and guarantees of all the rights of the Charter and should not be discriminated against because of their parents or families, colour, race, gender, language, religion, personal or political opinion, nationality, disability or for any other reason.

2. The Government of National Unity as well as Provincial and Local Governments, all political parties, communities, all extra parliamentary groups, families, parents and children, should do everything possible to ensure that children are not discriminated against due to his / her or his / her parents or family color, race, sex, language, religion, personal or political opinion, nationality, disability or for any other reason.

Article Two Name and Nationality

All children have the right to a name and nationality as soon as they are born.

Article Three Right to Opinion and Participation

1. All children have the right to express their own opinion and the right to be heard in all the matters that affect their rights and protection and welfare.

2. All children have the right to be heard in courtrooms and hearings affecting their future rights and protection and welfare and to be treated with the special care and consideration within those courtrooms and hearings, which their age and maturity demands.

3. All children have the right to free legal representation whenever they are required to appear in court or when their circumstances require legal representation.

4. All children have the right to participate in the government of the country and special attention should be given to consultations with children on their rights and situation.

Article Four Freedom of Beliefs and Culture

All children have the right to freedom to practice their own religion, culture or beliefs without fear.

Article Five Protection from Violence

1. All children have the right to be protected from all types of violence including: Physical, emotional, verbal, psychological, sexual, state, political, gang, domestic, school, township and community, street, racial, self-destructive and all other forms of violence.

2. All children have the right to freedom from corporal punishment at school, from the police and in prison, and at home.

3. All children have the right to be protected from neglect and abandonment.

4. All children have the right to be protected from township and political violence and to have safeplaces; and to have community centers where they can go for help and safety from violence.

5. All children have the right to be educated about child abuse and the right to form youth groups to protect them from abuse.

6. All persons have the duty to report all violence against, abuse of and neglect of any child to the appropriate authorities.

7. Children should not be used as shields or tools by the perpetrators of violence.

8. Children have the right to say not to violence.

9. The media has the duty to prevent the exploitation of children who are victims of violence and should be prohibited from the promotion of violence.

10. All children have the right to be protected from violence by the police and prisons.

11. Children should not be obligated or forced to follow adults in their political involvement.

12. All children have the right to be free from torture, detention or any other physical or emotional violence during Apartheid or at times of unrest or war

13. All children have the right to be protected from drug and alcohol abuse by their parents, families and others and to be educated about these forms of violence.

14. Children have the right to a special children"s court and medical facilities to protect them from violence.

15. Special groups and organizations should be formed within the communities to protect and counsel victims of all types of violence.

16. No child should be held in prison or police cells at any time.

Article Six Family Life

1. All children have the right to a safe, secure and nurturing family and the right to participate as a member of that family.

2. All children have the right to love and affection from their parents and family.

3. All children have the right to clothing, housing and a healthy diet.

4. All children have the right to clean water, sanitation an a clean living environment.

5. All children have the right to be protected from domestic violence.

6. All children who do not have a family, are abandoned, displaced or who are refugees should be given special protection and every effort should be made to place them with a safe and secure family where necessary.

7. Subsidised adoptions should be instituted to assist children with being place in new families where necessary

8. Children with intellectual capacity should be allowed to take decisions or make choices as to which parent they should go to in cases of divorce, separation or adoption.

Article Seven Health & Welfare

1. All children have the right to adequate health care and medical attention both before and after birth.

2. All children have the right to be protected from harmful and toxic substances such as cigarettes, drugs, and alcohol and to be educated about the effects of their health and environment.

3. All children the right to free and comprehensive health services, especially in schools, including screening of diseases, treatment of diseases and physical and psychological treatment and service.

4. All children have the right to demand health and medical care without the permission of their parents or guardian.

5. All children have the right to be protected and educated about AIDS and to be given adequate health care and protection. Any child whose family is infected with AIDS should be given special care and protection.

6. Disabled children have the right to special health care and protections.

Article Eight Education

1. All children have the right to free and equal, non-racial, non-sexist and compulsory education within one department as education is a right not a privilege.

2. All children have a right to education, which is in the interest of the child and to develop their talents through education, both formal and informal.

3. All teachers should be qualified and should treat children with patience, respect and dignity. All teachers should be evaluated and monitored to ensure that they are protecting the rights of the child.

4. Parents have the duty to become involved in their children's education and development and to participate in their children's education at school and at home.

5. All children have the rightt o play and to free and adequate sports and recreational facilities so that children can be children.

6. All children have the right to participate in the evaluation and upgrading of curriculum, which respect all the traditions, culture and values of children in South Africa.

7. All children have the right of education on issues such as sexuality, AIDS, human rights, history and background of South Africa and family life.

8. All children have the right to adequate educational facilities and the transportation to such facilities should be provided to children in difficult or violent situations.

Article Nine Child Labour

1. All children have the right to be protected from child labour and any other economic exploitation, which endangers their mental, physical or psychological health and interferes with their education so that they can develop properly and enjoy childhood.

2. All children, especially in the rural areas, should be protected from hard labour including farm, domestic or manual labour or any other type of labour and that instances of violations of age restrictions should be investigated by a Child Protection Service and employers should be prosecuted.

3. All children have the right to be protected from prostitution and sexual exploitation such as pornography. People found to be exploiting children in this fashion should face severe consequences.

4. There should be a minimum age of employment and no child should be forced to leave school before completion of matric for the purpose of employment. The circumstances of the parents of children found to be working at an early age should be investigated and, where necessary, they should be assisted with bursaries from their employers or with free education of their children up to matric level.

5. There should be regulations and restrictions on the hours and types of work and penalties for those who violate these regulations.

6. All children have the right to be protected from child slavery and from the inheritance of labour or employment from their parents or families.

Article Ten Homeless Children

1. No child should be forced to live on the streets or forced to return home if his/her basic rights will continue to be violated but homeless children should be encouraged to return home wherever possible.

2. Homeless children have the right to be protected from harassment and abuse from police, security guards and all other persons and every person has the duty to report any abuse or violence against children.

3. Homeless children have the right to a decent place to live, clothing and a healthy diet.

4. Street children have the right to special attention in education and health care.

5. Communities and families have a duty to protect their children from becoming homeless and abandoned.

6. All persons should be made aware of the plight of homeless children and should participate in programmes, which act to positively eradicate the problem of homeless children.

7. Local, Provincial and National government has a duty and responsibility for homeless children.

8. Disabled homeless children need special attention for special needs.

SADC Children's Broadcasting Charter

We, the peoples of the Southern African Developing Countries of Angola, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland and Zambia, affirm and accept the internationally adopted Children’s Television Charter, which was accepted in Munich on 29 May 1995.

Without detracting from the International Children's Charter, we further adopt in line with the said Charter and in the spirit of the said Charter, our SADC Children Broadcasting Charter, which takes into consideration the needs and wants of children in our region.

  • Children should have programmes of high quality, made specifically for them and which do not exploit them. These programmes, in addition to entertaining, should allow children to develop physically, mentally and socially to their fullest potential.
  • Whilst endorsing the child's right to freedom of expression, thought, conscience and religion, and protection against economic exploitation, children must be ensured access to programmes and production of programmes through multi-media access centres.
  • Children should hear, see and express themselves, their culture, their language and their life experiences, through the electronic media which affirms their sense of self, community and place.
  • As part of the child's right to education and development, childrens programmes should promote an awareness and appreciation of other cultures in parallel with the child's own cultural background. To facilitate this there should be an ongoing research into the child audience, including the child's needs and wants which, as a matter of priority, should be implemented.
  • Childrens programmes should be wide ranging in genre and content, but should not include gratuitous scenes of violence and sex.
  • Children programmes should be aired in regular slots at times when children are available to listen and view, and/or be distributed via other widely accessible media or technologies.
  • Sufficient resources, technical, financial and other must be made to make these programmes to the highest possible standards, and in order to achieve quality, setting codes and standards for children broadcasting must be formulated and developed through a diverse range of groupings.
  • In compliance with the UN policy of co-operation between states in the international community, and especially in the SADC countries, the Children Broadcasting Charter recognises all international covenants, conventions, treaties, charters and agreements adopted by all international organisations including the UN and the OAU affecting children, but with particular reference to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. "


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