By: Itumeleng Mphure
“The one thing all children have in common is their rights. Every child has the right to survive and thrive, to be educated, to be free from violence and abuse, to participate and to be heard. “- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
Children from different parts of the world live under different political, economic, cultural, traditional and social circumstances but what they have in common is their need for their basic human rights. South Africa celebrates national children’s rights day on 7 November and universal children’s rights day on 20 November as a sign of the realisation and promotion of the rights of children in the country.
The date 20 November marks the day on which the UN Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, in 1959, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, in 1989. These rights vary from the right to health to the right to freedom of expression, civil and political. These rights are inter- linked to ensure that children live in harmony and under conditions that ensure that they grow up to be socially, economically and politically active adults with a safe and secure future.
It is often said that knowledge is power and education is the key to a prosperous future. Based on the principles and provisions outlined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the purpose of education is suggested to empower children to become critically literate citizens so that they can shape a future that recognizes the inherent dignity and the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family. According to UNICEF the best interests of children must be the primary concern in making decisions that may affect them. When adults make decisions, they should think about how their decisions will affect children. This particularly applies to budget, policy and law makers.
Education is a fundamental and universal right. Basic education is free and accessible in most parts of South Africa although challenges exist as far as education is concerned. It is important for education to be accessible and for educational instruction must be of an excellent quality to ensure that children meet the learning objectives. However, it is always essential for adults to acknowledge, uphold and promote other children’s rights as they facilitate the educational process of children. A child, who lives in secure home, receives health care and nutritious meals regularly etc. is prone to performing optimally in school.
This universal children’s rights day the Tiger Brands Foundation reiterates its commitment to children’s rights through food security which plays a pivotal role in facilitating education through nutrition.