Human Rights Commission hosts National Conference on Rights of Children with Disabilities, 11 to 12 Oct

SAHRC Hosts National Conference on the Rights of Children with Disabilities

The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC or Commission) has a constitutional mandate, to promote protect, and monitor the observance of human rights in South Africa. In line with this constitutional mandate, the Commission will be hosting a National Conference on the Rights of Children with Disabilities. According to a 2015 Human Rights Watch Report titled, ‘Complicit in Exclusion’: South Africa’s Failure to Guarantee Inclusive Education for Children with Disabilities; an estimated half-a-million children with disabilities were denied access to education. Additionally, the Department of Basic Education statistics for 2017 indicate that 11 461 children with disabilities were on school admission waiting lists. This means that the basic right to education for many children with disabilities is not being realised on a daily basis.

Children with disabilities and their families constantly experience barriers to the enjoyment of their basic human rights which includes the right to education, right to healthcare and right to family care. This is contrary to the norm stipulated in the Constitution, national legislation as well as regional and international instruments which state that children with disabilities must enjoy equal rights as children without disabilities. says Commissioner Angie Makwetla, Commissioner responsible for children’s rights. Commissioner Makwetla is co-ordinating the National Conference.

The Commission aims for the National Conference to strengthen the working relationship between SAHRC, non-governmental organisations and government departments to practically map out and ensure an inclusive society for children with disabilities whilst educating parents and communities about their rights and empowering them on how to enforce these rights. In achieving these outcomes the National Conference will focus on reviewing policies and laws that should promote the rights of this vulnerable group of children, identify progress made in the realisation of these rights, identify challenges in the realisation of such rights, chart a map to mitigate such challenges and get relevant stakeholders’ commitment to ensuring a better life for children with disabilities.

Source: Government of South Africa

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