UNICEF South Africa calls for children to be protected and prioritized, as the country marks 30-years of democracy

The ‘Manifesto for Every Child 2024: Time to PROTECT and PRIORITIZE children’ launched today sets out key actions to improve the wellbeing of children and in-turn society and the nation.

25 April 2024
Three adolescent girls in green school uniforms sit on a small ledge in front of a yellow wall with graffiti painted on it.
UNICEF South Africa/2023

PRETORIA, 25 April 2024 – Thirty years since the dawn of democracy in South Africa and ahead of the latest national elections, when citizens will again exercise their right to vote, UNICEF South Africa releases its ‘Manifesto for Every Child in South Africa 2024: Time to PROTECT and PRIORITIZE children.

The ‘Manifesto’ calls for children and young people – the nation’s largest and greatest resource – to be put front and center in the country’s development. 

“The holistic progress of a nation relies on a commitment to ensure its children not only survive but thrive,” said Christine Muhigana, UNICEF South Africa Representative. “The country is rich with creative, inspiring and energetic children and young people and we need to do all we can to nurture them and transform their lives and futures,” added Muhigana. 

The ‘Manifesto’ sets out a series of core asks and actions to better protect and to prioritize children, especially the most vulnerable, such as those living with disabilities and migrant and refugee children.

The ‘Manifesto’ recognizes child rights progress over the past three decades, following the signing of the Convention on the Rights of the Child as the first international treaty ratified by the new Government of South Africa on 16 June 1995. But there is also a call for a renewed sense of urgency and action to protect the rights of children and accelerate progress towards the National Development and Sustainable Development goals by 2030.

The release of the document follows the concluding observations from the Committee on the Rights of the Child in response to South Africa’s periodic child rights report submission in 2023. “Children are rights holders with specific needs and vulnerabilities,” said Muhigana. “That’s why we need to protect and prioritize them, only then can we help to build a safer, fairer, and better South Africa for every child – for everyone,” she added.

UNICEF South Africa’s ‘Manifesto’ calls on all partners, from government to private sector, academia to civil society and children and young people themselves, to engage in and strengthen efforts to protect and prioritize children and build a safer, fairer, and better South Africa for every child – for everyone.  

Media contacts

Toby Fricker
Chief of Communication & Partnerships
UNICEF South Africa
Tel: +27 61 418 7486
Sudeshan Reddy
Communication Specialist
UNICEF South Africa
Tel: +27 82 561 3970

Additional resources

On a sport field, a girl with her chin resting on a football looks into the distance.
Student Thandi Ntshoko, 15 from Khayelitsha looks on in the "My body is Mine" module during UNICEF Sport for Development Training Camp within the Girls and Boys Education Movement (GBEM) in Grabouw, South Africa on March 22, 2024.


UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across more than 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone.

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