The 2002 Southern Africa Campaign against Child Abuse launched in June 16 was the origin of SANTAC.
The International Year of the Child, 1979, was instrumental in giving visibility to children’s issues and in calling on national institutions to prioritise and strategise on these issues.
The momentum gathered that year and the social mobilisation for children that it created, led to the drafting of UN Children’s Rights Convention (UNCRC) which was consequently adopted by the heads of states, including African ones, and inspired the drafting and ratification of the African Charter for the Rights and Well Being of the Child.
Since then, the implementation of the UNCRC comported in itself two major challenges:
· The rendering of the human rights of children relevant to many sectors, going beyond the traditional areas of child welfare, and the engagement of them in favour of child rights;
· The safeguarding of these rights that will only be a reality when all relevant structures are involved, both governmental and non-governmental, at national and international levels.
At the World Summit eleven years ago, world leaders made a joint commitment and issued an urgent, universal appeal to give every child a better future.
In his end of decade report, the UN Secretary–General stated that the 1990’s was a decade of great promises and modest achievements for the world’s children.
“Despite the many gains made for children, much more needs to be done. The resources that were promised at the Summit at both the national and international levels have yet to fully materialise. Critical challenges remain: more than 10 million children die each year although most of these deaths could be prevented; 100 million children are still out of school, 60 % of them are girls; 150 million children suffer from malnutrition; and HIV/AIDS is spreading with catastrophic speed. There is persistent poverty, debt burdens, exclusion and discrimination, and inadequate investment in social services. The childhood of millions continues to be devastated by hazardous and exploitative labour; the sale and trafficking of children including adolescents and other forms of abuse, neglect, exploitation and violence,” he continued.
At the UN Special Session on Children in New York 2002, governments once again re-committed themselves to meet the best interest of children around the world, and the same commitment was displayed at the African Union Summit held in Maputo, in July 2003, when the heads of state decided to establish the Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child.
As child rights activists working in the field of child abuse, exploitation and trafficking of children, organisations from Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe in collaboration with our international partners, launched our “Regional Campaign against Child Abuse in Southern Africa” on 16 June 2002, in Mozambique.
Under the patronage of Graça Machel and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the Foundation for Community Development (FDC) was identified as the host organisation to administer the following objectives of the campaign:
· Create public awareness, educate and advocate for the rights of the child;
· Affiliated organisations to this campaign continue to work in their respective countries on the issue of child abuse and child trafficking;
· Lobby and advocate at all levels against child abuse, exploitation and child trafficking;
· Lobby the SADC member states to develop and adopt a regional plan of action to combat the phenomenon of child abuse and child trafficking;
· Lobby governments in Southern Africa to strengthen and harmonise domestic legislation for effective and appropriate prosecution of perpetrators of child abuse and child trafficking;
· Lobby SADC member states to recognise child trafficking as a crime and not to penalise children who are victims of trafficking;
· Lobby SADC member states to ratify, implement and respect international protocols, conventions and treaties;
· Lobby SADC member states to enter into multi-lateral and bi-lateral agreements against cross-border trafficking of children;
· Lobby SADC member states to develop programmes and training of relevant role players
in matters of prevention, protection and holistic healing of child abuse and child trafficking;
· Lobby the support of international and local partners to join this regional campaign and include into their programmes.
South Africa: Molo Songololo, Oasis Cultural Group
Zimbabwe: CONNECT & Abandoned Babies Committee
Mozambique: Gabinete da Campanha contra o Abuso Sexual de Menores, Rede de Criança, MONASO, Kulaya, ADDC, OMM, Ministério da Mulher e Coordenação de Acção Social, Centro de Reabilitação e Psicologia Infantil, Cruz Vermelha de Moçambique
International Member Partners:
Terre des Hommes (Germany), UNICEF, Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA).