This manual on children and the law is based on expert analysis and aimed at people who help children and their families. The manual is written in a straightforward language, making it also understandable to older children and their families. The manual is made up of fourteen chapters covering a wide range of issues, which clearly set out key areas of the law relating to children in South Africa. The first edition of this manual was compiled and edited by the previous LHR Child Rights Co-ordinator, Ann Skelton. The second edition was edited by Sudeshnee Padayachee, the second co-ordinator of the Project.
The Ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child by the South African government in 1995 set the scene for broad-reaching policy and legislative change. The new South African Constitution includes a section protecting children’s rights, which includes the statement that children have the right not to be detained except as a measure of last resort and then for the shortest appropriate period of time, separate from adults and in conditions that take account of his her age. One of the earliest cases to come before the newly constituted Constitutional Court was S v Williams (1995) 3 SA 632 (CC) which dealt with the sentence of corporal punishment, until then a sentence commonly used for the punishment of children by the courts. The court struck down corporal punishment on the grounds that was cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.
A paper prepared for the conference on "Children’s Rights in a Transitional Society" held by the Centre for Child Law, University of Pretoria, 30 October 1998.
The Refugee Information Guide is a valuable tool for assisting asylum seekers and refugees in their day to day living in South Africa. The guide which is split into a legal and social section, provides both detailed information and suggestions on issues of relevance such as the rights of refugees, status determination procedures, access to social assistance and education. It also provides a directory of service providers and relevant emergency numbers for each of the cities where Refugee Reception Offices are located.