As South Sudan commemorates the Convention on the Rights of the Child’s 23rd Anniversary, there is an urgent need for ratification of the convention
JUBA, 20 November 2012 - The commemoration of the 23rd anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) is marked today by a parliamentary debate on the rights of children and an Art exhibition by children as a call to their caregivers and leaders to realize children’s rights.
As South Sudan joins the rest of the world in commemorating the day, there are still a number of challenges in realising the rights of children. One of the significant steps in ensuring their rights is the ratification of the CRC, with the world’s newest nation, being one of very few countries yet to complete the ratification.
The CRC is the first legally binding international instrument to incorporate the full range of human rights—civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights spells out the basic human rights that children everywhere have the right:
By agreeing to undertake the obligations of the Convention, national governments commit themselves to protecting and ensuring children's rights and agree to be held accountable for this commitment before the international community.
“The South Sudan Child of Act of 2008 is a good example of how South Sudan has made efforts to domesticate the CRC even though there are still some challenges in the implementation of their national legislation. To cement these efforts and to ensure greater investment, the Republic of South Sudan needs to demonstrate to the rest of the world its commitment to its children by ratifying the CRC,” said UNICEF’s Officer-in-Charge, Elizabeth Quaye.
One of the important rights under the convention is the Right to Protection from Marriage which is quite prevalent in South Sudan. Child marriage is increasingly being recognised as a serious problem, both as a violation of girls’ human rights and as a hindrance to key development outcomes.
“Child marriage is still a common practice in many parts of South Sudan and continues to affect thousands of girls in this new nation. It is important for all of us to campaign against it as it robs young girls of their childhood, a chance to go to school and exposes them to domestic violence, HIV, and even death during childbirth,” said Honorable Rebecca Okwaci, Deputy Minister for General Education and Instruction.
The Ratification of the Convention and Child Marriage are the two subjects being debated at length during the Parliamentary panel discussion.
Okech Vincent, 15 a student from Eastern Equatoria aptly summarised the urgency of the ratification. “South Sudan is not only the newest nation but also one of the youngest – over 50 percent of the population are under the age of 18. We are the future of South Sudan. It is very important that the government and all partners ensure our rights to be protected and our voices heard”.
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