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Transforming Society

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Media Statement: SAHRC host an Online Webinar on the impact of COVID-19 on the girl child – creating a platform for children to engage

Attention: Editors and Reporters

27 August 2020

The South African Human Rights Commission (the SAHRC or the Commission) is mandated, amongst other things, to promote and protect children’s rights. In celebrating the 25th Anniversary, the Commission will be hosting an Online Webinar on the impact COVID-19 has on the girl child during the women’s month.
Over the years, South Africa has celebrated the entire month of August as Women's Month as a tribute to the more than 20 000 women who marched to the Union Buildings on 9 August 1956 in protest against the extension of Pass Laws to women. In addition to celebrating the contributions of women to our democracy, the month of August is also used to shine a spotlight on the injustices suffered by women such as, gender based violence (GBV), gender inequality and the particular vulnerability of women. In celebrating and highlighting the plight of women, children, especially the girl child, must not be overlooked.

The impact of COVID-19 on children’s rights, as stated in national, regional and international human rights instruments, cannot be over-emphasized.  The crisis has a far-reaching, devastating and long-term effect on children. The concerning part is that both the virus and steps taken to curb the virus has undermined children’s rights.

When children are exposed to COVID-19, their right to health, right to life, right to association and right to family care - when their caregivers are exposed to COVID-19 - are impacted. The various measures taken by the countries all over the world, to end the pandemic like lockdowns have directly affected children’s enjoyment of their rights.

It has been recorded that during epidemics/pandemics children, especially girls, are more exposed to sexual exploitation. During the Ebola epidemic in West Africa in 2014-2015, for example, the region saw spikes in sexual abuse and teenage pregnancy. One survey found that vulnerable girls, including those who lost relatives to Ebola, turned to transactional sex to pay for food and other basic needs.

This year, in celebrating women’s month, the Commission would like to create a platform for girls to contribute to the democracy and culture of human rights in the country. The panel members will consist of one representative from the Commission, two girls from two different high schools, an expert on children’s rights and a teacher. The following human rights topics will be discussed: mental health, right to food in relation to the recent court judgement, right to education and the right not to be violated/exploited.

The Commission thus invites all to register and participate in the webinar that the SAHRC will host.

Link to register: Pending

Date and Time: Monday, 31 August 2020, 15:00-16:00

Event number: Pending
Event password: Pending

Ends –
Issued by the South African Human Rights Commission
Gushwell Brooks – Communications Co-ordinator Tel: 082 645 8573 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The South African Human Rights Commission.

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The Human Rights Commission is the national institution established to support constitutional democracy. It is committed to promote respect for, observance of and protection of human rights for everyone without fear or favour.

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