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African Human Rights Law Journal

On-line version ISSN 1996-2096
Print version ISSN 1609-073X


FOKALA, Elvis  and  RUDMAN, Annika. Age or maturity? African children's right to participate in medical decision-making processes. Afr. hum. rights law j. [online]. 2020, vol.20, n.2, pp.667-687. ISSN 1996-2096.

This article advocates an approach to children's participation in medical decision-making processes guided by the rationality of the best interests' principle, a child's evolving capacity and a child's age. Using a human rights-based approach, rooted in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the African Children's Charter, it seeks to elucidate the contested three-way partnership between the child, its parent(s) and the assigned physician(s), which plays out in relation to most medical procedures involving children. In analysing legislation and case law, the article further aims to clarify the complex relationship between age and maturity in child participation; to facilitate a child's involvement in the three-way partnership; and to suggest the statutory recognition of an age indicator in domestic African law in relation to medical procedures.

Keywords : children's autonomy; children's right to participate; medical decision-making process; child's evolving capacity; best interests of the child; age and maturity.

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