"Laws, national and international, are after all, words on paper. They may codify attitudes, but the real results depend on how they are implemented, what is done to follow up and to reach the ideals".' 1 South Africa included a fairly extensive clause enshrining children's rights in the interim constitution that came into effect with the advent of democratic government on 27 April 1994, and, on 16 June 1995, the government ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1989. This was the first international human rights document to be ratified by the new government. It is, possibly, significant that the children's rights treaty was ratified before other international treaties identified by the government for early ratification: the torture convention, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, to cite just two2 that the government had indicated that it intended to ratify.