Shadow Report on South Africa's Initial Country Report on the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child
In 1997 the government of South Africa signed the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. Last year, government submitted its initial State Party Report to the African Union (AU) Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child covering the period June 2000 to April 2013. Shortly thereafter, the civil society children's rights sector embarked on a process to draft a Shadow Report or alternative report for the AU Committee to consider.
The UCT Refugee Rights Unit's Tal Schreier was asked to contribute to the Shadow Report, on relevant matters pertaining to refugee children and foreign unaccompanied children in South Africa. On 23 and 24 February 2014, Ms. Schreier participated in a two day workshop to draw on extensive civil society input and map out the Shadow Report's contents and structure. Ms. Schreier's parts in the Shadow Report highlight the numerous protection challenges experienced by refugee children (accompanied and unaccompanied) as well as other categories of unaccompanied foreign children in South Africa. For example, barriers to accessing the asylum process, the child protection system, and basic health and education services were highlighted, as well as the risk of children becoming stateless in South Africa and the impact that poverty and discrimination has on this particularly vulnerable class of children.
The draft Shadow Report is currently being circulated nationally for endorsements and will be lodged in Addis Ababa at the AU headquarters next month, for consideration by the AU Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, prior to the committee's engagement with the government of South Africa.