On 10 August 2018, the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC) released General Comment No. 5 on State Party Obligations and Systems Strengthening for Child Protection (General Comment No. 5), published under the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (African Children’s Charter).
General Comment No. 5 focuses on the implementation obligations of states parties as set out in article 1 of the African Children’s Charter, including the meaning, elements and more detailed guidance on the general measures required. Article 1 of the African Children’s Charter provides as follows:
“Obligations of states parties
- Member States of the Organization of African Unity Parties to the present Charter shall recognize the rights, freedoms and duties enshrined in this Charter and shall undertake to the necessary steps, in accordance with their Constitutional processes and with the provisions of the present Charter, to adopt such legislative or other measures as may be necessary to give effect to the provisions of this Charter.
- Nothing in this Charter shall affect any provisions that are more conductive to the realization of the rights and welfare of the child contained in the law of a State Party or in any other international Convention or agreement in force in that State.
- Any custom, tradition, cultural or religious practice that is inconsistent with the rights duties and obligations contained in the present Charter shall to the extent of such inconsistency be discouraged.”
As explained in General Comment No. 5, implementation refers to the crucial matter of giving effect to the provisions and principles contained in the African Children’s Charter, which may include a wide range of measures to combat deprivation, provide protection, enhance access to quality basic services, and improve the overall safety and wellbeing of every individual child. Implementation covers the process whereby governments take the necessary legal, policy, budgetary, administrative and other appropriate measures to ensure the full realisation of all children’s rights stipulated in the African Children’s Charter and other relevant national, regional and international human rights laws.
General Comment No. 5 further provides that effective implementation of the African Children’s Charter must take place in light of the following general principles: (i) non-discrimination in the implementation of the rights under the African Children’s Charter; (ii) the best interests of the child; (iii) the right to survival, development and protection; and (iv) participation.
Moreover, General Comment No. 5 contains provisions regarding systems for strengthening child protection. As set out in General Comment No. 5, this includes the need for inter alia coordination; budgeting and efficient resource use; collection of sufficient and reliable disaggregated data on children; and training and awareness-raising.
General Comment No. 5 is accessible here.
Please note: The information contained in this note is for general guidance on matters of interest, and does not constitute legal advice. For any enquiries, please contact us at [email protected].