An exploratory study on the interplay between African customary law and practices and children's protection rights in South Africa

A Save the Children Sweden study entitled ”An exploratory study on the interplay between African customary law and practices and children’s protection rights in South Africa”, initially launched at a conference on the Status of Children’s Rights in Southern Africa hosted by Save the Children, the Pan African Parliament and the Southern African Development Community (SADC), held in November 2011 in Johannesburg. The aim of the study is to explore how cultural and religious practices impact on children's rights and how a lack of understanding of African Customary Law makes it difficult to distinguish which Customary Law Practices protect children and which heighten their vulnerability. This study takes an impartial approach to examining African custom and practice in the context of child protection and focuses on the interplay between African custom and the following protection domains:

  • Customary upbringing and parenting practices and community protection mechanisms;
  • gender sensitive practices and attitudes;
  • children’s health, including their sexual health and wellbeing;
  • criminal offences by and against children;
  • status and participation of children.

The recommendations of this study could be of great value to all stakeholders working in child protection

Published 2011-12-21

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