Save the Children South Africa commemorates 25th anniversary of UNCRC with call to end corporal punishment
Back in 1923 the founder of Save the Children Eglantyne Jebb wrote the foundation of what was to become the first declaration on the rights of the child. In 1989 the United Nations formally adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child. On this day all children became universal citizens with the right to be healthy, safe, learn, play and to participate in society. Today the 20th of November 2014 marks the 25th anniversary of the Convention. It is the most widely ratified human rights treaty in history with 194 out of 197 states committing themselves to realising children’s rights.
To commemorate this important landmark Save the Children South Africa together with the Embassy of Sweden in South Africa hosted a thought provoking seminar on ending corporal punishment which is one of the most enduring forms of violence against children.
According to Gugu Ndebele Save the Children’s CEO “corporal and humiliating punishment continues unabated because in South African society there is a general tolerance and acceptance of violence against children at the hands of their parents and teachers in the name of discipline and punishment. As we know violence begets violence. Evidence clearly shows that children who have been victims of violence are more likely to become adult perpetrators. The long term negative impact and psychological damage on children is well documented and we have much to learn from Sweden’s experience of banning corporal punishment. If we wish to build an empowered citizenry in South Africa based on fundamental human rights we must respect children’s rights to dignity and protection. Positive discipline methods must become the standard for parents and teachers when guiding children and teaching them right from wrong”.
Sweden and South Africa have had a long standing relationship over the years and the friendship between countries dates back to the liberation struggle. During the last two decades, Partner Driven Development Cooperation was carried out with South African partner organisations, including on children’s rights in cooperation with the Departments of Justice and Social Development as well as a number of civil society organisations.
The Ambassador of Sweden to South Africa, Anders Hagelberg, today sought deeper cooperation between Sweden and South Africa regarding the Rights of Children. “By hosting this seminar together with Save the Children South Africa, we hope to continue our dialogue and partnership with South Africa on issues around Child Rights. We are ready to listen to proposals and input on how we can continue to contribute to the promotion of the Rights of Children here in South Africa. The Swedish example has shown that change is possible.”