UNICEF South Africa and SA Human Rights Commission partner to advance children’s rights

04 April 2020

JOHANNESBURG, 4 April 2020 – UNICEF South Africa has signed a historic agreement with the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) to advance children’s rights in all spheres of society.

This includes ensuring that all children – without discrimination and regardless of migratory status - are considered and included in policies and actions responding to COVID-19 and have access to basic services such as health and education.

UNICEF and the SAHRC will work to ensure that all children have their rights to birth registration, health, immunization, early childhood development, education, shelter, food and social protection met, and that children’s voices are fully heard through their meaningful participation in society.

“South Africa has made great strides to realise the education and health rights of children. However, child protection remains a concern. South Africa has among the world’s highest levels of violence and abuse against children. This agreement will allow us to work closely with the SAHRC, the State and non-profit organisations to leverage awareness, commitment and resources for violence prevention and early intervention services, areas which are underfunded in the State budget,” said Mrs Muriel Mafico, Deputy Representative of UNICEF in South Africa.

“Children’s rights are important for all children, at all times. In times of emergency and global uncertainty around COVID-19, children are especially vulnerable, and it is important to ensure that no child is left behind. We call on all of South African society to ensure that the most vulnerable children are fed, safe and empowered during this lockdown period which seeks to protect everyone from COVID-19,” she said.

“We are delighted to sign this Memorandum of Understanding with UNICEF, paving the way for two of South Africa’s greatest children’s advocates to work together to advance children’s rights,” said Advocate Tseliso Thipanyane, the CEO of the SAHRC.

“With UNICEF’s support, we will be establishing a children’s unit within the SAHRC and will also be working on documenting the evolution of children’s rights in the country since the dawn of South Africa’s democracy.”

Media contacts

Greer van Zyl
Communication Specialist
UNICEF South Africa
Tel: +27 79 896 3447

Additional resources


UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in over 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special efforts on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children everywhere.

Working with a range of partners, UNICEF has had a presence in South Africa since the end of apartheid and continues to work towards bettering the lives of all children in the country.

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About the SAHRC

The SAHRC as a national human rights institution, is mandated to promote, protect and monitor human rights in South Africa. It is one of the institutions whose objective is to strengthen constitutional democracy in South Africa. In order to realise its mandate, the SAHRC investigates and reports on observance of human rights, takes steps to secure appropriate redress in instances when human rights are violated, carries out research and educates. The SAHRC works with a wide range of stakeholders in order to realise its objectives.

Media enquiries: 

Greer van Zyl, UNICEF South Africa, 079 896 3447; gvanzyl@unicef.org
For SAHRC: Gushwell Brooks – Communications Co-ordinator Tel: 082 645 8573 gbrooks@sahrc.org.za