Article 40 - latest Issue
Volume 16, Issue 2, 2014
South Africa reports to the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC) : focus on the Child Justice SystemSource: Article 40 16, pp 1 –4 (2014)More Less
Under article 44 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), State Parties are required to submit an Initial Report within two years of ratification of the Convention and thereafter submit periodic reports every five years. South Africa ratified the CRC on 16th June 1995. Consequently in line with article 44, it submitted its Initial Report to the CRC Committee on 4th December 1997. The Report is available at http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G98/162/94/PDF/G9816294.pdf?OpenElement. The second, third and fourth periodic reports were therefore due in 2000, 2005 and 2010 respectively. Although these long overdue reports are yet to be submitted, the Government has taken steps towards the preparation of these reports (as a combined second, third, and fourth periodic report spanning 1998 to 2014) and it is hoped that they will be submitted to the CRC Committee in 2015.
Source: Article 40 16 (2014)More Less
In this edition, we begin with a feature on South Africa's reporting obligations in terms of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC) before the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC) - with a focus on the Child Justice System. At the end of October 2013, the Government of South Africa submitted its initial report before the ACERWC while a delegation of civil society representatives submitted a 'complementary' or 'shadow' report.
RAPCAN's Child Witness Project : advocating for a child rights based approach in the criminal justice system for child victims of sexual abuseSource: Article 40 16, pp 5 –9 (2014)More Less
Sexual abuse of children results in short- and long-term psychological and behavioural problems as well as the risk of, for example, later sexual and physical abuse and domestic violence. Few child victims of sexual abuse are resilient and able to lead relatively normal lives following the traumatic event/s.
According to the South African Police Service (SAPS) Annual report, 63 067 sexual offences were recorded in 2012/13; 25 446 of these against children (40.3%). Unreported offences are thought to be much higher. The conviction rate of reported offences is very low: 9%. In order for the perpetrator to be successfully prosecuted, the South African Criminal Justice System requires child victims to be witnesses in court. The children are forced to deal with the trauma of having to repeatedly relive the ordeal by retelling their stories of abuse at several stages of the investigation, including during in-court testimony.
Author Anna D. TomasiSource: Article 40 16, pp 10 –12 (2014)More Less
International human rights law and in particular the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), establish the clear obligation for states to use detention as a last resort, for the shortest period of time and to apply measures that are in the best interests of the child that aim at rehabilitation. These obligations, however, are continuously violated. It is estimated - although this number is out trotted - that over 1,000,000 children are in criminal detention worldwide; this number does not include the many cases that remain unreported or the various other forms of deprivation of liberty. Deprivation of liberty is indeed quite a broad concept and would entail "any form of detention or imprisonment or the placement of a person under the age of 18 in a public or private custodial setting, from which this person is not permitted to leave at will, by order of any judicial, administrative or other public authority". Children are, for instance, also detained in the context of immigration, based on their or their parents' migration status. Immigration detention of children always constitutes a child rights violation. Children may also be confined for physical and mental health, among other, reasons.