The opening Ceremony was attended by Representatives from the Governments of Chad, Comoros, Cote d’Ivoire ,Tanzania, Lesotho, Senegal, and Kenya; Members of the Diplomatic Corps, Representatives from the United Nation Offices; National and International Organisations CSOs; and the Media.
Particularly the Session benefited from the attendance of Her Majesty Queen Masenate Mohato the Queen, who, in her speech, stressed the need to pursue all avenues to protect the interest of children and better their future. Her Majesty emphasized that the session presents an opportunity to make an intervention and critically analyse the challenges in the child protection systems of Africa and to share good case practices that can be replicated. Her Majesty the Queen ‘Masenate Mohato Seeiso also recognised the particular significance of this session for Lesotho as the Kingdom seeks to host the Secretariat of the Committee. She finally called on all African countries to implement strategies aimed at achieving child related development goals and those that will continue to achieve the objectives of the African charter on the rights and welfare of the child.
At the core of this 29th Ordinary Session is the consideration State Party Reports on the implementation of the African Children’s Charter from the Governments of Chad, Comoros, Côte d’Ivoire, and Tanzania. It should be recalled that the Committee has the mandate to monitor the implementation of the African Children’s Charter in State Party. As such, each country is expected to submit an initial report within two years after the ratification of the Charter, then periodic reports every three years.
In addition to consideration of State Party Reports, the ACERWC will discuss the concept note of the Continental Study on children on the move; examine reports on the implementation of the decision on communications, namely the decision on behalf of the children of Nubian descent in Kenya and the decision on behalf of the Talibe children in Senegal; and consider an update of the amicable settlement reached between the Government of Malawi and IHRDA after a communication introduced by the latter. The Committee will also issue admissibility rulings on three recent communications on alleged child rights violations in State Parties. The adoption of the theme of the Day of the African Child (DAC) 2018 is also expected at this Session.
Moreover, the Committee also plans to adopt the first ever joint General Comment with the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) on child marriage and will also consider applications for Observer Status from various organisations.
Notes to the editor:
The African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC) draws its mandate from articles 32-46 of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC), adopted by the Heads of State and Government of the then OAU on 11th July 1990, and which entered into force on November 29, 1999.
The functions of the Committee are provided in article 42: to promote and protect the rights and welfare of the child; to monitor the implementation and ensure the protection of the rights in the ACRWC; to interpret the provisions of the Charter through General Comments; to perform any other task assigned to it by AU Assembly, Secretary-General and any other AU or UN organ. The Committee is equally bestowed with quasi-judicial functions provided in article 44 of the Charter which states that the “Committee may receive communications, from any person, group or non-governmental organization recognized by the Organization of African Unity, by a Member State, or the United Nations relating to any matter covered by this Charter.
To date, the Charter has been ratified by 47 AU Member States, and 28 have submitted reports on its implementation (http://www.acerwc.org/ratification-data/). The Committee has issued 2 Generals Comments on article 30 and article 6 of the Charter. General Comments N°1 (GC 1) on article 30 deals with children of imprisoned parents. General N° 2 is concerned with the right to a name and nationality recognized by article 6 of the Charter. So far, 10 communications on allege child rights violations have been submitted to the Committee, among which 4 are finalized and 6 are still pending. http://www.acerwc.org/communications/table-of-communications/