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Newsletter: From Evidence to Action

Migrant children

A large number of unaccompanied foreign migrant children migrate to South Africa alone in search of a better life. As a result they are vulnerable to exploitation, child labour and child trafficking . South Africa has ratified international treaties and has domestic law that provides for the protection of all children in its territory, including unaccompanied foreign migrant children, despite a panoply of legal provisions, unaccompanied foreign migrant children continue to face challenges in accessing basic rights in South Africa.

Unaccompanied Foreign Migrant Children is one in a series of topical guides developed for PAN: Children that provides key information on the current state of affairs in South Africa related to challenges of independant child migration. The topical guide highlights practical guidance, lessons learned and case studies (both national and international) that will be helpful in policy development dialogue and knowledge sharing. This topical guide is accompanied by a Policy brief and a Fact sheet.

Feedback on the topical guide is welcomed and can be submitted to [email protected]. The PAN secretariat also welcomes any additional documentation which is aligned to the focus of this guide.

Related publications

Link: Publication

The Migration Policy Practice covers a range of policy areas, including on child migration, regional policy initiatives in the field of environmental migration, mixed migration flows into Libya, the challenge of counting and documenting lives lost during attempts by migrants to cross borders, and a review of Paul Collier’s book Exodus: Immigration and Multiculturalism in the 21st Century.

This policy brief focuses on unaccompanied foreign migrant children and it highlights key policy gaps which lie in the area of access to the care and protection system; denial of education due to lack of documentation; arrest and detention on account of immigration status and the inaccessibility of documents that can legalise the unaccompanied foreign migrant children’s stay in South Africa. Unaccompanied foreign migrant children must be treated as children in need of care and protection and be afforded the benefits that come with that status.

Attached are some resolutions pertaining to children and their rights recently adopted by the United Nations General Assembly and, thus, applicable to all member states. These resolutions are a great source for programme design, policy development and advocacy.

This report draws upon research conducted as part of an EU-funded project, ‘Ending unlawful deprivation of liberty of women and children in South Africa’, to explain the systemic violation of migrants’ rights in South Africa and to explore the impact of protection systems designed to promote those rights for migrant women and unaccompanied children. The research demonstrates how a tightly restricted immigration system, an overburdened and poorly functioning asylum system, and an under-resourced and unsuitable child protection system, place migrant women and children in an extremely vulnerable position: at risk of arrest, detention, exploitation and abuse.      

Link: Publication

This report aims to stimulate discussion and action by decision-makers and serve to inform the strategic thinking, programming and practice. It confirms well-known hindrances, identifies opportunities, and highlights how meaningful youth participation needs to address power. It calls on the broad range of actors working on child and youth development issues to take action and improve their own effectiveness and the enabling environment. While several findings identify new challenges and opportunities, others add more nuance and context to current discussions on child and youth development. The recurrence of some issues suggests that current actions are either inadequate or absent.

Link: Publication

This helpdesk query from GSDRC answers the following question:- What evidence is there on the development outcomes of the political and social inclusion of young people? Review the evidence in lower and middle income countries for including young people (10-25 years) in political processes, formal institutions and governance structures (political inclusion) and informal institutions such as household and community structures (social inclusion). What development outcomes (positive and negative / costs and benefits) are associated with these forms of inclusion, both for the youth cohort as well as wider society?

‘Cities and children: The challenge of urbanisation in Tanzania’ stresses that, while national development plans and policies give strong attention to the country’s rural areas, children growing up in urban areas merit greater attention than they have received so far. Many of these children, especially those living in unplanned urban settlements, are often not better off, and, in some cases, are even worse off, than their rural peers – in terms of: living conditions; access to quality services, infrastructure and amenities; and exposure to risks specifically associated with the urban environment and lifestyle.

Link: Publication

World leaders are setting out a roadmap for human progress over the next 15 years. Known as the Sustainable Development Goals, these new global targets will drive investment and action in virtually every country on earth, touching millions of lives. That is why it is vital that every child is included – and that children everywhere are at the heart of the new global agenda. This ‘Agenda for Every Child’ sets out seven priorities that must be addressed in the new development goals.

Link: Publication

As the era of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) comes to an end in 2015, a new framework for global development will be put in place. The ‘Post-2015 Development Agenda’ will culminate in the formulation of a new set of goals and targets – the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – that will build on the progress of the MDGs and also address the shortcomings. Additional resources: Post-2015 Issue Briefs .





Link: Publication

The Regional Strategy for Southern Africa 2014-2016 presents a holistic approach that focuses on the following two priorities: First, the fact that various aspects of migration challenges are inter-related. For example, the humanitarian needs related to migration are link to development opportunities and both issues need to be seen in the context of overall security and transnational organized crime trends. And second, there is a need for tackling migration problems increasingly from a regional level rather than a country-by-country approach.

This fact sheet discusses unaccompanied foreign migrant children in South Africa prepared by  Prof. Ann Skelton and Karabo Ngidi from the Centre for Child Law.

A notice from the Department of Social Development, the Child rights sector Indaba has been postponed until further notice. The department remains committed to engage with the sector. Kindly accept our sincere apologies for any inconvenience  that this may have caused.

When do minimum ages protect or limit children’s rights? What is meant by capacity and free and informed consent? How can greater rights recognition rather than age thresholds better protect children from abuse? And why on earth is children’s access to justice limited simply because of their age? These are some of the questions CRIN addresses in its new discussion paper Age is Arbitrary: setting minimum ages (see link to discussion paper above), which examines a series of contentious children’s rights issues using general principles and rights-based criteria, and exposing how minimum ages can be inconsistent, discriminatory and arbitrary.With this discussion document CRIN wants to encourage new debate on setting minimum ages.

Unaccompanied Foreign Migrant Children is one in a series of topical guides developed for PAN: Children that provides key information on the current state of affairs in South Africa related to the topic and highlight practical guidance, lessons learnt and case studies (both national and international) that will be helpful in policy development dialogue and knowledge sharing. This topical guide is accompanied by a fact sheet and a policy brief.