The Faculty of Law at the University of Pretoria is pleased to announce that another prestigious international award was bestowed upon Professor Ann Skelton, Director of the Centre for Child Law, on 20 December 2016. Professor Skelton received the Juvenile Justice Without Borders International Award from the International Juvenile Justice Observatory (IJJO) in recognition of the outstanding and valuable work she has been doing for more than 20 years, promoting children's rights in South Africa – both in court rooms and by improving the juvenile justice system in South Africa. The award ceremony coincides with the United Nations International Day of Human Solidarity, which promotes, among other things, the adoption of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
According to a letter from its Chair, Dr Francisco Legaz Cervantes, the IJJO is specifically honouring Professor Skelton's extraordinary achievements in changing the juvenile justice system in South Africa by chairing the drafting process of the new legislation to protect children at risk, as well as her innovative role in giving effect to these laws. He states that 'The Observatory places great value on and acknowledges your personal involvement as a professor, transmitting values and the respect for fundamental human rights to new generations, as well as your valuable work in building sustainable social, educational and political pillars for a new society.'
Created in 2010, the Juvenile Justice without Borders International Award celebrates advances and achievements in the field of juvenile justice and children's rights around the world. It honours the work of those institutions and persons that have contributed to the outstanding progress and achievements made in the protection of children's rights, in the legal and psychosocial fields, as well as in the areas of research and direct intervention with children and youths in conflict with the law. Through this award, the IJJO recognises Professor Skelton's longstanding dedication to this cause.
Professor Skelton is well known as a children's rights lawyer, both in South Africa and internationally. She has been instrumental in law reform in South Africa, having chaired the committee that drafted the Child Justice Act 75 of 2008 at the South African Law Reform Commission, and as a member of the committee that drafted the Children's Act 38 of 2005. In June 2016 Professor Skelton was elected to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child for a four-year term from 2017 to 2021, after being nominated as a candidate by the Government of South Africa. She also holds the UNESCO Chair in Education Law in Africa and was the recipient of an honorary World's Children's Prize in 2012 for her then 25 years of successful legal battles for the rights of children affected by the justice system.
Pretoria News: Fighter for children's rights honoured
The Star (Early Edition): Fighter for children's rights honoured