Hlomelang: Official Online Publication of the ANCYL
ANCYL Constitution: as amended and adopted by the 25th National Congress September 2015
Hlomelang: Vol. 13 No. 1: 25 July  07 August 2016
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Universal Children`s Day

20 November 2015

The ANCYL calls upon its structures and communities across the country to observe this very important day in our calendar - the Universal Children`s Day. Guided by the wise words of our forefather; OR Tambo that a country that does not take care of its youth does not deserve its future, we call upon society to work together with government in ensuring that every child is raised in a warm, peaceful and conducive environment ensuring their full potential and aspirations are realized. Statistics on child abuse as recorded by Childline paint a very disturbing picture; showing an increase in the abuse of children. Such a narrative can never be tolerated and poses a threat in us achieving a prosperous future.

We therefore send a strong message that those who use children and the youth for drug trafficking, hijacking and housebreakings should be regarded as traitors to our democracy, and must be marginalized by law abiding citizens. We say enough is enough to human trafficking of children for sexual and other forms of exploitation. We must all be reminded that the total dismantling of apartheid on the 27th April 1994 ushered in political freedom, however the freedom gained cannot exist without social responsibility. We must therefore work together to fight all social ills.

When we became a democratic country, South Africa became a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. As we are observing this day , we need to pause and assess whether this country is abiding by legal obligations of the convention. During this Universal Children Day we will be educating communities on the key articles of the Convention:-

1. Article 4 (Protection of rights): Governments have a responsibility to take all available measures to make sure children`s rights are respected, protected and fulfilled.

2. Article 5 (Parental guidance): Governments should respect the rights and responsibilities of families to direct and guide their children so that, as they grow, they learn to use their rights properly. Helping children to understand their rights does not mean pushing them to make choices with consequences that they are too young to handle.

3. Article 6 (Survival and development): Children have the right to live. Governments should ensure that children survive and develop healthily.

4. Article 18 (Parental responsibilities; state assistance): Both parents share responsibility for bringing up their children, and should always consider what is best for each child.

5. Article 20 (Children deprived of family environment): Children who cannot be looked after by their own family have a right to special care and must be looked after properly, by people who respect their ethnic group, religion, culture and language.

6. Article 23 (Children with disabilities): Children who have any kind of disability have the right to special care and support, as well as all the rights in the Convention, so that they can live full and independent lives.
7. Article 24 (Health and health services): Children have the right to good quality health care - the best health care possible - to safe drinking water, nutritious food, a clean and safe environment, and information to help them stay healthy. Rich countries should help poorer countries achieve this.

8. Article 26 (Social security): Children - either through their guardians or directly - have the right to help from the government if they are poor or in need.

9. Article 28: (Right to education): All children have the right to a primary education, which should be free.

10. Article 29 (Goals of education): Children`s education should develop each child`s personality, talents and abilities to the fullest

As the ANCYL we call upon all spheres of the ANC-led government and all role-players to ensure that we mobilize communities to adhere to the Convention for the Rights of the Child. You can indeed predict the future of any country by the way it treats its children - and by extension, its youth. Children are at an age where they cannot distinguish between constructive and potentially destructive behavior. We therefore have a responsibility to look after them and nurture them continuously. In this country there are millions of orphans, mostly children. We are calling upon government, business community and NGOS to collaborate in order to create a better future for the vulnerable children.

Critically, as the ANCYL we are fully aware that at times crime is fuelled by the nature of life that our people live in, and by the nature of the environment within which we conduct our daily activities. Some of those who get involved in crime are children who never received any sense of love and warmth when they were raised. They grew up in an environment where there is alcohol abuse, domestic violence and hatred.

Due to absent parents, these kids are forced to make life changing decisions early on in life, when they are very vulnerable and not of mature age. As a result they turn to alcohol, crime and drug trafficking as measures to escape their circumstances and find sustenance. These are things that require our society to stand together, and for communities to play the role of parent where such does not exist. Our objective remains the creation of a prosperous and better South Africa but in order to build that everyone must play their part.

We must start today to spread the message of peace, first peace within one self, then of course peace that should be shared amongst all in the community. We need to work together, as partners, to deal with the whole aspect of building a strong and loving nation.

A loving nation is a community that produces young people who grow up and become responsible citizens. We as a nation need to boldly assert that we are proud of our humanity and affirm the humanity of others; that we as individuals, communities and as a nation acknowledge and respect the humanity of others.

Issued by

Mlondi Mkhize

National Spokesperson

African National Congress Youth League