SciELO - Scientific Electronic Library Online

 
vol.9 issue1Human rights developments in sub-regional courts in Africa during 2008J Sloth-Nielsen (ed) Children's rights in Africa: A legal perspective author indexsubject indexarticles search
Home Pagealphabetic serial listing  

Services on Demand

Article

Indicators

Related links

  • On index processCited by Google
  • On index processSimilars in Google

Share


African Human Rights Law Journal

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

Afr. hum. rights law j. vol.9 n.1 Pretoria  2009

 

RECENT DEVELOPMENTS

 

Out of the starting blocks: The 12th and 13th sessions of the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child

 

 

Julia Sloth-NielsenI; Benyam D MezmurII

ISenior Professor of Law, University of the Western Cape, South Africa
IIResearcher and PhD Candidate, Community Law Centre, University of the Western Cape, South Africa

 

 


SUMMARY

The 12th and 13th meetings of the African Children's Committee were held in November 2008 and April 2009 respectively. With the African Children's Charter entering its 10th year since entry into force, the real work of the African Committee is now beginning. With the consideration of the first country reports to the African Committee, the benefits of a regionally-specific child rights treaty has begun to become apparent. The recent establishment of a formal grouping of civil society organisations and individuals dedicated to furthering the regional influence of the African Children's Charter (first mooted in 2004!) comes at an opportune time. Despite some of the recurring shortcomings in the work of the Committee, it is hoped that the development of a strategic plan for the Committee's work for the period 2010 to 2014 will lay some of these concerns to rest.


 

 

“Full text available only in PDF format”

 

 

* BA LLB (Stellenbosch), LLM (Cape Town), LLD (Western Cape); juliasn@telkomsa.net
** LLB (Addis Ababa), LLM (Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa) (Pretoria); benyamdawit@yahoo.com. It is hereby acknowledged that this work is based upon research supported by the National Research Foundation.
1 African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (1990) OAU Doc CAB/ LEG/24.9/49 (1990) For a detailed discussion of the African Children's Charter, see, eg, D Olowu 'Protecting children's rights in Africa: A critique of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child' (2002) 10 International journal on Children's Rights 127;         [ Links ] D Chirwa 'The merits and demerits of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (2002) 10 International journal on Children's Rights 157;         [ Links ] A Lloyd 'Evolution of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child and the African Children's Committee of Experts: Raising the gauntlet' 2002 (10) International journal on Children's Rights 179;         [ Links ] M Gose 'The African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child', Community Law Centre, University of the Western Cape, 2002.         [ Links ]
2 Art 38(1) African Children's Charter.
3 For a report on the 5th, 6th and 7th meetings of the African Children's Committee, see B Mezmur(a) 'The African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child: An update' (2006) 6 African Human Rights Law journal 549.         [ Links ] See also B Mezmur(b) 'Still an infant or now a toddler? The work of the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child and its 8th ordinary session' (2007) 7 African Human Rights Law Journal 258;         [ Links ] B Mezmur(c) 'The 9th ordinary session of the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child: Looking back to look ahead' (2007) 7 African Human Rights Law Journal 545;         [ Links ] J Sloth-Nielsen & B Mezmur 'Win some, lose some: The 10th ordinary session of the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child' (2008) 8 African Human Rights Law Journal 207;         [ Links ] and B Mezmur & J Sloth-Nielsen 'An ice-breaker: State party reports and the 11th session of the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child' (2008) 8 African Human Rights Law Journal 596.         [ Links ]
4 The requirements of gender and geographical diversity amongst the members are discussed in Sloth-Nielsen & Mezmur (n 3 above).
5 See F Viljoen 'Promising profiles: An interview with the four new members of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights' (2006) 6 African Human Rights Law Journal 238,         [ Links ] highlighting the need for geographical representation in the context of the African Commission.
6 Mezmur & Sloth-Nielsen (n 3 above) 597.
7 Mezmur & Sloth-Nielsen (n 3 above) 599.
8 The Committee had received reports from Burkina Faso, Kenya, Mali, Niger, Tanzania and Uganda, in addition to the reports from Egypt and Nigeria which were considered a the 12th meeting, and that of Rwanda, which should have been considered during that session. A pre-sessional meeting to formulate the Committee's initial response to these reports was scheduled for the two days immediately following the 13th meeting.
9 Sloth-Nielsen & Mezmur (n 3 above).
10 Our emphasis.
11 This seems more or less inevitable, given that the reporting cycle provided for under the Charter is a three-year one, in contradistinction to the five-year cycle for reporting under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
12 The allocations were as follows: Children in Conflict and Natural Disaster Situations (Mr Moussa Sissoko); Violence against Children (Mme Diakhate Seynabou); Child Labour, Trafficking and Exploitation (Mrs Agnes Kabore); Education of Children (Mrs Boipelo Sheiltlamo); Administration of Justice to Minors (Mrs Maraim Uwais); Participation of Children (Mr Cyprien Yanclo); The Right to an Identity (Mrs Dawlat Hassan); Integral Early Childhood Development (Mrs Koffi Marie Chantal); Vulnerable Children (Mrs Martha Koome), Survival and Development of Children (Mrs Koffi Marie Chantel), Responsibility of the Family (Mr Rasamoely Andrianirainy).
13 The theme for the DAC for 2009 was decided at this meeting, and is to be 'Africa Fit for Children: Call for Accelerated Action Towards Their Survival'.
14 See Save the Children Sweden & Plan International Advancing childrens rights: A guide to civil society organisations on how to engage with the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (2009) (available only electronically).         [ Links ]
15 n 14 above, 37.
16 Rule 69(1) of the Rules of Procedure provides that '[t]he Committee may invite RECs, the AU, specialised agencies, the United Nations organs, NGOs and CSOs, in conformity with article 42 of the Children's Charter, to submit to it reports on the implementation of the Children's Charter and to provide it with expert advice in areas falling within the scope of their activities'.
17 In the official report of the 12th meeting, the communication is erroneously referred to as having emanated from the University of the Western Cape, and in the official agenda for the 13th meeting refers to the communication as having come from the University of Cape Town.
18 Ch 2, art 2(IV)(1) Guidelines for Communications. The state concerned in a communication is to be given the chance to present an explanation or written statement containing its observations on a communication within six months. Ch 2, art 2(II) (4) Guidelines for Communications. However, if this deadline is not respected, the Committee may decide to consider the communication anyway. Ch 2, art 2(III)(4) Guidelines for Communications.
19 See Sloth-Nielsen & Mezmur (n 3 above). See also J Sloth-Nielsen & B Mezmur 'Surveying the research landscape to promote children's legal rights in an African context' (2007) 7 African Human Rights Law Journal 352.
20 Presentation by Ms Hannah Foster of the African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies at the 1st Civil Society Forum in and around the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, Addis Ababa, 18-20 April 2009.
21 The report of the 12th meeting notes the receipt of an application for observer status from Save the Child, Sweden, from the Institute for Human Rights and Development in Banjul, and from the Botswana Centre for Human Rights. The Community Law Centre of the University of the Western Cape is known to have submitted an application before the Committee criteria were released.
22 It was also agreed that the organisations that have applied for observer status should be requested to re-send their applications in both English and French.
23 J Sloth-Nielsen & B Mezmur 'A dutiful child: The implications of article 31 of the African Children's Charter' (2008) Journal of African Law 159.
24 See CRIN 'Nigeria: Towards child survival and development: Improved partnerships for the promotion and protection of the rights of the African child' (2008) http://www.crin.org/resources/infoDetail.asp?ID=18887 (accessed 22 April 2009).
25 For a detailed report on the Civil Society Forum, see CRINMAIL http://www.crin.org/email/crinmail_detail.asp?crinmailID=3134 (accessed 29 April 2009).

Creative Commons License All the contents of this journal, except where otherwise noted, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License