5 February 2014
Government has noted with concern a trend of using children as human shields during protests. This after a group of teenagers allegedly led a group of protesters who wanted to burn down a police station as well as other municipal offices in Bronkhorstspruit, near Pretoria.
Acting GCIS CEO, Phumla Williams said, “Government strongly condemns the use of children during protests as this puts their education opportunities in jeopardy. This is a violation of fundamental human rights that may hinder children's development, potentially leading to lifelong psychological damage. We, therefore, urge parents who involve children in destroying public property and committing violence during protests to refrain from such behaviour”.
“Whilst every citizen has the constitutional right to protest, it is unacceptable when property and valuable public infrastructure are destroyed during protests”, said Williams.
Government has reiterated a call by President Jacob Zuma for restraint during protests and urges communities to be vigilant in countering all forms of protest that deny children their rights.
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Issued by: Government Communications and Information System (GCIS)