THE South African Council of Churches (SACC) in Mpumalanga has called on the public to refrain from discriminating against HIV/Aids-affected children and those with albinism.
SACC was commenting following the report released by the KidsRights foundation which indicated that this kind of discrimination has worsened in South Africa.
“We are appealing to everyone to the public to stop abusing these young people. Community leaders, spiritual leaders and the community at large have a role to play, which is to teach our children to respect their fellow peers, who are suffering from different problems or diseases, “said SACC provincial spokesperson Reverend Luke Dlamini.
“Laughing or ridiculing a child who is in trouble, is foolish because tomorrow you might find yourself or a member of your family being in the same situation with the child you have been discriminating against.”
The annual global ranking which rates 165 countries in children’s rights has put the country in 84th place – up from last year’s 109 spot, the index released a few weeks ago has found.
According to the index, improvements in immunisation and data collection have boosted SA’s score.
However, its overall performance was considered average. Portugal being this year’s global frontrunner has brought South Africa’s ratings down in terms of increased discrimination against children.
“This puts vulnerable child groups, including disabled youngsters and those on the streets, more at risk of violence, abuse and the denial of basic services.”
Founder and chairperson of the KidsRights foundation, Marc Dullaert, said a non-discrimination policy needs to be a priority for South Africa in 2017.
“Discrimination is severely hampering the opportunities of future generations to reach their full potential,” Dullaert said.
The index has also highlighted that the country has slightly improved the way in which it fosters an enabling environment for children’s rights.
It has also revealed that the country ranks poorly in the domains Life (ranked 125) as well as Health (107), notwithstanding improvements regarding the immunisation of children.