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T N Sithole, Kgothatso B Shai


Awareness of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW 1979) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC 1989) is relatively high within academic and political circles in South Africa and elsewhere around the world. In South Africa, this can be ascribed mainly to the powerful women’s lobby movements represented in government and academic sectors. Women and children’s issues have been especially highlighted in South Africa over the last few years. In this process, the aforementioned two international human rights instruments have proved very useful. There is a gender desk in each national department. The Office on the Status of Women and the Office on Child Rights have been established within the Office of the President, indicating the importance attached to these institutions. These offices are responsible for co-ordinating governmental efforts towards the promotion and protection of women and children’s rights respectively, including the two relevant treaties. Furthermore, there is also a great awareness amongst non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in respect of CEDAW and CRC. This can be ascribed mainly to the fact that there is a very strong women’s NGO lobby and NGOs are actively committed to the promotion of children’s rights. Women are increasingly vocal and active within the politics of South Africa, but the weight of customary practices remains heavy. The foregoing is evident of the widening gap between policy theory and practice in the fraternity of vulnerable groups – children and women in particular.


Women’s rights; children’s rights; human rights; South Africa; CEDAW; CRC

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