Many SA children still get a raw deal

The Kids Rights Index 2017 indicates that South African children have moved up the rankings from 84th to 109th
Picture: iStock

South Africa is failing to protect its children‚ particularly their right to life and health‚ a global survey has found.

The annual survey — the Kids Rights Index 2017 — measures children’s enjoyment of rights to life‚ health‚ education and protection.

The survey found that South Africa had moved up in ranking‚ but the treatment of girls‚ children affected by HIV/Aids and albinos hadworsened.

The index‚ which rated 156 countries‚ ranked South Africa 84th‚ up from 109th last year.

The countries that ranked highest were Portugal‚ Norway‚ Switzerland‚ Iceland‚ Spain‚ France‚ Sweden‚ Thailand‚ Tunisia and Finland.

Although improvements in immunisation and data collection boosted South Africa’s score to average‚ its rating was brought down by increased discrimination against children.

The index said this puts vulnerable children‚ including the disabled and “street kids“‚ at risk of violence‚ abuse and denial of basic services.

The survey concluded that South Africa had slightly improved the environment that enabled children’s rights but ranked poorly in the right to life (125th) and right to health (107th)‚ categories‚ and 6th for right to education.

The index‚ released on Monday‚ is critical of South Africa for its failure to track its spending on children‚ and the Department of Social Development for a lack of “robust audits” on expenditure‚ wasteful or irregular‚ including corruption.

Shaheda Omar‚ director of the Teddy Bear Foundation‚ a Johannesburg charity that helps abused children‚ expressed concern that South Africa’s ranking showed ” continued discrimination and marginalisation of children “.

“Many children still struggle for access to education and other essential services such as healthcare‚” she said.

Karabo Ozah‚ deputy director of the Centre for Child Law‚ said: “We have laws and policies that protect children‚ but we fall short in implementation and that results in vulnerable children not benefiting.”

She said there was a general problem of violence against children “which needed urgent attention“.

– TMG Digital/TimesLIVE

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