African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child

PREAMBLE

The African Member States of the Organization of African Unity, Parties to the present Charter entitled African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child,

CONSIDERING that the Charter of the Organization of African Unity recognizes the paramountcy of Human Rights and the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights proclaimed and agreed that everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms recognized and guaranteed therein, without distinction of any kind such as race, ethnic group, colour, sex, language, religion, political or any other opinion, national and social origin, fortune, birth or other status,

RECALLING the Declaration on the Rights and Welfare of the African Child (AHG/ST.4 Rev.l) adopted by the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the Organization of African Unity, at its Sixteenth Ordinary Session in Monrovia, Liberia, from 17 to 20 July 1979, recognized the need to take appropriate measures to promote and protect the rights and welfare of the African Child,

NOTING WITH CONCERN that the situation of most African children, remains critical due to the unique factors of their socio-economic, cultural, traditional and developmental circumstances, natural disasters, armed conflicts, exploitation and hunger, and on account of the child’s physical and mental immaturity he/she needs special safeguards and care,

RECOGNIZING that the child occupies a unique and privileged position in the African society and that for the full and harmonious development of his personality, the child should grow up in a family environment in an atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding,

RECOGNIZING that the child, due to the needs of his physical and mental development requires particular care with regard to health, physical, mental, moral and social development and requires legal protection in conditions of freedom, dignity and security,

TAKING INTO CONSIDERATION the virtues of their cultural heritage, historical background and the values of the African civilization which should inspire and characterize their reflection on the concept of the rights and welfare of the child,

CONSIDERING that the promotion and protection of the rights and welfare of the child also implies the performance of duties on the part of everyone,

REAFFIRMING ADHERENCE to the principles of the rights and welfare of the child contained in the declaration, conventions and other instruments of the Organization of African Unity and in the United Nations and in particular the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child; and the OAU Heads of State and Government’s Declaration on the Rights and Welfare of the African Child;

HAVE AGREED AS FOLLOWS:

PART 1: RIGHTS AND DUTIES

CHAPTER ONE: RIGHTS AND WELFARE OF THE CHILD

Article 1: Obligation of State Parties

  1. 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 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.
  2. Nothing in this Charter shall affect any provisions that are more conducive 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.
  3. 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.

Article 2: Definition of a Child

For the purposes of this Charter, a child means every human being below the age of 18 years.

Article 3: Non-Discrimination

Every child shall be entitled to the enjoyment of the rights and freedoms recognized and guaranteed in this Charter irrespective of the child’s or his/her parents’ or legal guardians’ race, ethnic group, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national and social origin, fortune, birth or other status.

Article 4: Best Interests of the Child

  1. In all actions concerning the child undertaken by any person or authority the best interests of the child shall be the primary consideration.
  2. In all judicial or administrative proceedings affecting a child who is capable of communicating his/her own views, an opportunity shall be provided for the views of the child to be heard either directly or through an impartial representative as a party to the proceedings, and those views shall be taken into consideration by the relevant authority in accordance with the provisions of appropriate law.

Article 5: Survival and Development

  1. Every child has an inherent right to life. This right shall be protected by law.
  2. State Parties to the present Charter shall ensure, to the maximum extent possible, the survival, protection and development of the child.
  3. Death sentence shall not be pronounced for crimes committed by children.

Article 6: Name and Nationality

  1. Every child shall have the right from his birth to a name.
  2. Every child shall be registered immediately after birth.
  3. Every child has the right to acquire a nationality.

State Parties to the present Charter shall undertake to ensure that their Constitutional legislation recognize the principles according to which a child shall acquire the nationality of the State in the territory of which he has been born if, at the time of the child’s birth he is not granted nationality by any other State in accordance with its laws.

Article 7: Freedom of Expression

Every child who is capable of communicating his or her own views shall be assured the rights to express his opinions freely in all matters and to disseminate his opinions subject to such restrictions as are prescribed by laws.

Article 8: Freedom of Association

Every child shall have the right to free association and freedom of peaceful assembly in conformity with the law.

Article 9: Freedom of Thought, Conscience and Religion

  1. Every child shall have the right to freedom of thought conscience and religion.
  2. Parents, and where applicable, legal guardians shall have the duty to provide guidance and direction in the exercise of these rights having regard to the evolving capacities, and best interests of the child.
  3. State Parties shall respect the duty of parents and where applicable, legal guardians, to provide guidance and direction in the enjoyment of these rights subject to the national laws and policies.

Article 10: Protection of Privacy

No child shall be subject to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his privacy, family home or correspondence, or to the attacks upon his honour or reputation, provided that parents or legal guardians shall have the right to exercise reasonable supervision over the conduct of their children. The child has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

Article 11: Education

  1. Every child shall have the right to education.
  2. The education of the child shall be directed to:
    1. the promotion and development of the child’s personality, talents and mental and physical abilities to their fullest potential;
    2. fostering respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms with particular reference to those set out in the provisions of various African instruments on human and peoples’ rights and international human rights declarations and conventions;
    3. the preservation and strengthening of positive African morals, traditional values and cultures;
    4. the preparation of the child for responsible life in a free society, in the spirit of understanding, tolerance, dialogue, mutual respect and friendship among all peoples, ethnic, tribal and religious groups;
    5. the preservation of national independence and territorial integrity;
    6. the promotion and achievement of African Unity and Solidarity;
    7. the development of respect for the environment and natural resources;
    8. the promotion of the child’s understanding of primary health care.
  3. State Parties to the present Charter shall take all appropriate measures with a view to achieving the full realization of this right and shall in particular:
    1. provide free and compulsory basic education
    2. encourage the development of secondary education in its different forms and progressively make it free and accessible to all;
    3. make higher education accessible to all on the basis of capacity and ability by every appropriate means;
    4. take measures to encourage regular attendance at schools and the reduction of drop-out rates;
    5. take special measures in respect of female, gifted and disadvantaged children, to ensure equal access to education for all sections of the community.
  4. State Parties to the present Charter shall respect the rights and duties of parents, and where applicable, of legal guardians, to choose for their children schools other than those established by public authorities, which conform to such minimum standards as approved by the State, to ensure the religious and moral education of the child in a manner consistent with the evolving capacities of the child.
  5. State Parties to the present Charter shall take all appropriate measures to ensure that a child who is subjected to schools or parental discipline shall be treated with humanity and with respect for the inherent dignity of the child and in conformity with the present Charter.
  6. State Parties to the present Charter shall take all appropriate measures to ensure that children who become pregnant before completing their education shall have an opportunity to continue their education on the basis of their individual ability.
  7. No part of this Article shall be construed as to interfere with the liberty of individuals and bodies to establish and direct educational institutions subject to the observance of the principles set out in Paragraph I of this Article and the requirement that the education given in such institutions shall conform to such minimum standards as may be laid down by the States .

Article 12: Leisure, Recreation and Cultural Activities

  1. State Parties shall recognize the right of the child to rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities appropriate to the age of the child and to participate freely in cultural life and the arts.
  2. State Parties shall respect and promote the right of the child to fully participate in cultural and artistic life and shall encourage the provision of appropriate and equal opportunities for cultural, artistic, recreational and leisure activity.

Article 13: Handicapped Children

  1. Every child who is mentally or physically disabled shall have the right to special measures of protection in keeping with his physical and moral needs and under conditions which ensure his dignity, promote his self-reliance and active participation in the community.
  2. State Parties to the present Charter shall ensure, subject to available resources, to a disabled child and to those responsible for his care, assistance for which application is made and which is appropriate to the child’s condition and in particular shall ensure that the disabled child has effective access to training, preparation for employment and recreation opportunities in a manner conducive to the child achieving the fullest possible social integration, individual development and his/her cultural and moral development.
  3. The State Parties to the present Charter shall use their available resources with a view to achieving progressively the full convenience of the mentally and physically disabled person to movement and access to public highway buildings and other places to which the disabled may legitimately want to have access to.

Article 14: Health and Health Services

  1. Every child shall have the right to enjoy the best attainable state of physical, mental and spiritual health.
  2. State Parties to the present Charter shall undertake to pursue the full implementation of this right and in particular shall take measures:
    1. to reduce infant and child mortality rate;
    2. to ensure the provision of necessary medical assistance and health care to all children with emphasis on the development of primary health care;
    3. to ensure the provision of adequate nutrition and safe drinking water;
    4. to combat disease and malnutrition within the framework of primary health care through the application of appropriate technology;
    5. to ensure appropriate health care for expectant and nursing mothers;
    6. to develop preventive health care and family life education and provision of service;
    7. to integrate basic health service programmes in national development plans;
    8. to ensure that all sectors of the society, in particular, parents, children, community leaders and community workers are informed and supported in the use of basic knowledge of child health and nutrition, the advantages of breastfeeding, hygiene and environmental sanitation and the prevention of domestic and other accidents;
    9. to ensure the meaningful participation of non-governmental organizations, local communities and the beneficiary population in the planning and management of basic service programmes for children;
    10. to support through technical and financial means, the mobilization of local community resources in the development of primary health care for children.

Article 15: Child Labour

  1. Every child shall be protected from all forms of economic exploitation and from performing any work that is likely to be hazardous or to interfere with the child’s physical, mental, spiritual, moral, or social development.
  2. State Parties to the present Charter take all appropriate legislative and administrative measures to ensure the full implementation of this Article which covers both the formal and informal sectors of employment and having regard to the relevant provisions of the International Labour Organization’s instruments relating to children.

    State Parties shall in particular:

    1. provide through legislation, minimum wages for admission to every employment;
    2. provide for appropriate regulation of hours and conditions of employment;
    3. provide for appropriate penalties or other sanctions to ensure the effective enforcement of this Article;
    4. promote the dissemination of information on the hazards of child labour to all sectors of the community.

Article 16: Protection Against Child Abuse and Torture

  1. State Parties to the present Charter shall take specific legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect the child from all forms of torture, inhuman or degrading treatment and especially physical or mental injury or abuse, neglect or maltreatment including sexual abuse, while in the care of the child.
  2. Protective measures under this Article shall include effective procedures for the establishment of special monitoring units to provide necessary support for the child and for those who have the care of the child, as well as other forms of prevention and for identification, reporting referral investigation, treatment, and follow-up of instances of child abuse and neglect.

Article 17: Administration of Juvenile Justice

  1. Every child accused or found guilty of having infringed penal law shall have the right to special treatment in a manner consistent with the child’s sense of dignity and worth and which reinforces the child’s respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms of others.
  2. State Parties to the present Charter shall in particular:
    1. ensure that no child who is detained or imprisoned or otherwise deprived of his/her liberty is subjected to torture, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment;
    2. ensure that children are separated from adults in their place of detention or imprisonment;
    3. ensure that every child accused of infringing the penal law:
      1. shall be presumed innocent until duly recognized guilty;
      2. shall be informed promptly in a language that he understands and in detail of the charge against him, and shall be entitled to the assistance of an interpreter if he or she cannot understand the language used;
      3. shall be afforded legal and other appropriate assistance in the preparation and presentation of his defence;
      4. shall have the matter determined as speedily as possible by an impartial tribunal and if found guilty, be entitled to an appeal by a higher tribunal;
    4. prohibit the press and the public from the trial.
  3. The essential aim of treatment of every child during the trial and also if found guilty of infringing the penal law shall be his or her reformation, reintegration into his or her family and social rehabilitation.
  4. There shall be a minimum age below which children shall be presumed not to have the capacity to infringe the penal law.

Article 18: Protection of the Family

  1. The family shall be the natural unit and basis of society. It shall enjoy the protection and support of the State for its establishment and development.
  2. State Parties to the present Charter shall take appropriate steps to ensure equality of rights and responsibilities of spouses with regard to children during marriage and in the event of its dissolution. In case of the dissolution, provision shall be made for the necessary protection of the child.
  3. No child shall be deprived of maintenance by reference to the parents’ marital status.

Article 19: Parental Care and Protection

  1. Every child shall be entitled to the enjoyment of parental care and protection and shall, whenever possible, have the right to reside with his or her parents. No child shall be separated from his/her parents against his/her will, except when a judicial authority determines in accordance with the appropriate law, that such separation is in the best interest of the child.
  2. Every child who is separated from one or both parents shall have the right to maintain personal relations and direct contact with both parents on a regular basis.
  3. Where separation results from the action of a State Party, the State Party shall provide the child, or if appropriate, another member of the family with essential information concerning the whereabouts of the absent member or members of the family. State Parties shall also ensure that the submission of such a request shall not entail any adverse consequences for the person or persons in whose respect it is made.
  4. Where a child is apprehended by a State Party, his parents or guardians shall, as soon as possible, be notified of such apprehension by that State Party.

Article 20: Parental Reponsibilities

  1. Parents or other persons responsible for the child shall have the primary responsibility for the upbringing and development the child and shall have the duty:
    1. to ensure that the best interests of the child are their basic concern at all times;
    2. to secure, within their abilities and financial capacities, conditions of living necessary to the child’s development; and
    3. to ensure that domestic discipline is administered with humanity and in a manner consistent with the inherent dignity of the child.
  2. State Parties to the present Charter shall in accordance with their means and national conditions take all appropriate measures:
    1. to assist parents and other persons responsible for the child and in case of need, provide material assistance and support programmes particularly with regard to nutrition, health, education, clothing and housing;
    2. to assist parents and others responsible for the child in the performance of child-rearing and ensure the development of institutions responsible for providing care of children; and
    3. to ensure that the children of working parents are provided with care services and facilities.

Article 21: Protection against Harmful Social and Cultural Practices

  1. State Parties to the present Charter shall take all appropriate measures to eliminate harmful social and cultural practices affecting the welfare, dignity, normal growth and development of the child and in particular:
    1. those customs and practices prejudicial to the health or life of the child; and
    2. those customs and practices discriminatory to the child on the grounds of sex or other status.
  2. Child marriage and the betrothal of girls and boys shall be prohibited and effective action, including legislation, shall be taken to specify the minimum age of marriage to be 18 years and make registration of all marriages in an official registry compulsory.

Article 22: Armed Conflicts

  1. State Parties to this Charter shall undertake to respect and ensure respect for rules of international humanitarian law applicable in armed conflicts which affect the child.
  2. State Parties to the present Charter shall take all necessary measures to ensure that no child shall take a direct part in hostilities and refrain in particular, from recruiting any child.
  3. State Parties to the present Charter shall, in accordance with their obligations under international humanitarian law, protect the civilian population in armed conflicts and shall take all feasible measures to ensure the protection and care of children who are affected by armed conflicts. Such rules shall also apply to children in situations of internal armed conflicts, tension and strife.

Article 23: Refugee Children

  1. State Parties to the present Charter shall take all appropriate measures to ensure that a child who is seeking refugee status or who is considered a refugee in accordance with applicable international or domestic law shall, whether unaccompanied or accompanied by parents, legal guardians or close relatives, receive appropriate protection and humanitarian assistance in the enjoyment of the rights set out in this Charter and other international human rights and humanitarian instruments to which the States are Parties.
  2. State Parties shall undertake to cooperate with existing international organizations which protect and assist refugees in their efforts to protect and assist such a child and to trace the parents or other close relatives or an unaccompanied refugee child in order to obtain information necessary for reunification with the family.
  3. Where no parents, legal guardians or close relatives can be found, the child shall be accorded the same protection as any other child permanently or temporarily deprived of his family environment for any reason.
  4. The provisions of this Article apply mutatis mutandis to internally displaced children whether through natural disaster, internal armed conflicts, civil strife, breakdown of economic and social order or howsoever caused.

Article 24: Adoption

State Parties which recognize the system of adoption shall ensure that the best interest of the child shall be the paramount consideration and they shall:

  1. establish competent authorities to determine matters of adoption and ensure that the adoption is carried out in conformity with applicable laws and procedures and on the basis of all relevant and reliable information, that the adoption is permissible in view of the child’s status concerning parents, relatives and guardians and that, if necessary, the appropriate persons concerned have given their informed consent to the adoption on the basis of appropriate counseling;
  2. recognize that inter-country adoption in those States that have ratified or adhered to the International Convention on the Rights of the Child or this Charter, may, as the last resort, be considered as an alternative means of a child’s care, if the child cannot be placed in a foster or an adoptive family or cannot in any suitable manner be cared for in the child’s country of origin;
  3. ensure that the child affected by inter-country adoption enjoys safeguards and standards equivalent to those existing in the case of national adoption;
  4. take all appropriate measures to ensure that in inter-country adoption, the placement does not result in trafficking or improper financial gain for those who try to adopt a child;
  5. promote, where appropriate, the objectives of this Article by concluding bilateral or multilateral arrangements or agreements, and endeavour, within this framework to ensure that the placement of the child in another country is carried out by competent authorities or organs;
  6. establish a machinery to monitor the well-being of the adopted child.

Article 25: Separation from Parents

  1. Any child who is permanently or temporarily deprived of his family environment for any reason shall be entitled to special protection and assistance;
  2. State Parties to the present Charter:
    1. shall ensure that a child who is parentless, or who is temporarily or permanently deprived of his or her family environment, or who in his or her best interest cannot be brought up or allowed to remain in that environment shall be provided with alternative family care, which could include, among others, foster placement, or placement in suitable institutions for the care of children;
    2. shall take all necessary measures to trace and re-unite children with parents or relatives where separation is caused by internal and external displacement arising from armed conflicts or natural disasters.
  3. When considering alternative family care of the child and the best interests of the child, due regard shall be paid to the desirability of continuity in a child’s up-bringing and to the child’s ethnic, religious or linguistic background.

Article 26: Protection Against Apartheid and Discrimination

  1. State Parties to the present Charter shall individually and collectively undertake to accord the highest priority to the special needs of children living under Apartheid and in States subject to military destabilization by the Apartheid regime.
  2. State Parties to the present Charter shall individually and collectively undertake to accord the highest priority to the special needs of children living under regimes practising racial, ethnic, religious or other forms of discrimination as well as in States subject to military destabilization.
  3. State Parties shall undertake to provide whenever possible, material assistance to such children and to direct their efforts towards the elimination of all forms of discrimination and Apartheid on the African Continent.

Article 27: Sexual Exploitation

  1. State Parties to the present Charter shall undertake to protect the child from all forms of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse and shall in particular take measures to prevent:
    1. the inducement, coercion or encouragement of a child to engage in any sexual activity;
    2. the use of children in prostitution or other sexual practices;
    3. the use of children in pornographic activities, performances and materials.

Article 28: Drug Abuse

State Parties to the present Charter shall take all appropriate measures to protect the child from the use of narcotics and illicit use of psychotropic substances as defined in the relevant international treaties, and to prevent the use of children in the production and trafficking of such substances.

Article 29: Sale, Trafficking and Abduction

State Parties to the present Charter shall take appropriate measures to prevent:

  1. the abduction, sale of, or traffick in children for any purpose or in any form, by any person including parents or legal guardians of the child;
  2. the use of children in all forms of begging.

Article 30: Children of Imprisoned Mothers

  1. State Parties to the present Charter shall undertake to provide special treatment to expectant mothers and to mothers of infants and young children who have been accused or found guilty of infringing the penal law and shall in particular:
    1. ensure that a non-custodial sentence will always be first considered when sentencing such mothers;
    2. establish and promote measures alternative to institutional confinement for the treatment of such mothers;
    3. establish special alternative institutions for holding such mothers;
    4. ensure that a mother shall not be imprisoned with her child;
    5. ensure that a death sentence shall not be imposed on such mothers;
    6. the essential aim of the penitentiary system will be the reformation, integration of the mother to the family and social rehabilitation.

Article 31: Responsibility of the Child

Every child shall have responsibilities towards his family and society, the State and other legally recognized communities and the international community. The child, subject to his age and ability, and such limitations as may be contained in the present Charter, shall have the duty:

  1. to work for the cohesion of the family, to respect his parents, superiors and elders at all times and to assist them in case of need;
  2. to serve his national community by placing his physical and intellectual abilities at its service;
  3. to preserve and strengthen social and national solidarity;
  4. to preserve and strengthen African cultural values in his relations with other members of the society, in the spirit of tolerance, dialogue and consultation and to contribute to the moral well-being of society;
  5. to preserve and strengthen the independence and the integrity of his country;
  6. to contribute to the best of his abilities at all times, and at all levels, to the promotion and achievement of Afncan Unity.

Part II

Chapter Two: Establishment and Organization of the Committee on the Rights and Welfare of the Child

Article 32: The Committee

An African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child hereinafter called ‘the Committee’ shall be established within the Organization of African Unity to promote and protect the rights and welfare of the child.

Article 33: Composition

  1. The Committee shall consist of 11 members of high moral standing, integrity, impartiality and competence in matters of the rights and welfare of the child.
  2. The members of the Committee shall serve in their personal capacity.
  3. The Committee shall not include more than one national of the same State.

Article 34: Election

As soon as this Charter shall enter into force the members of the Committee shall be elected by secret ballot by the Assembly of Heads of State and Government from a list of persons nominated by the State Parties to the present Charter.

Article 35: Candidates

Each State Party to the present Charter may nominate not more than two candidates. The candidates must have one of the nationalities of the State Parties to the present Charter. When two candidates are nominated by a State, one of them shall not be a national of that State.

Article 36

  1. The Secretary-General of the Organization of African Unity shall invite State Parties to the present Charter to nominate candidates at least six months before the elections.
  2. The Secretary-General of the Organization of African Unity shall draw up in alphabetical order, a list of persons nominated and communicate it to the Heads of State and Government at least two months before the elections.

Article 37: Term of Office

  1. The members of the Committee shall be elected for a term of five years and may not be re-elected; however, the term of four of the members elected at the first election shall expire after two years and the term of six others, after four years.
  2. Immediately after the first election, the Chairman of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the Organization of African Unity shall draw lots to determine the names of those members referred to in sub-paragraph 1 of this Article.
  3. The Secretary-General of the Organization of African Unity shall convene the first meeting of the Committee at the Headquarters of the Organization within six months of the election of the members of the Committee, and thereafter the Committee shall be convened by its Chairman whenever necessary, at least once a year.

Article 38: Bureau

  1. The Committee shall establish its own Rules of Procedure.
  2. The Committee shall elect its officers for a period of two years.
  3. Seven Committee members shall form the quorum.
  4. In case of an equality of votes, the Chairman shall have a casting vote.
  5. The working languages of the Committee shall be the official languages of the OAU.

Article 39: Vacancy

If a member of the Committee vacates his office for any reason other than the normal expiration of a term, the State which nominated that member shall appoint another member from among its nationals to serve for the remainder of the term - subject to the approval of the Assembly.

Article 40: Secretariat

The Secretary-General of the Organization of African Unity shall appoint a Secretary for the Committee.

Article 41: Privileges and Immunities

In discharging their duties. members of the Committee shall enjoy the privileges and immunities provided for in the General Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the Organization of Afncan Unity.

Chapter Three: Mandate and Procedure of the Committee

Article 42: Mandate

The functions of the Committee shall be:

  1. To promote and protect the rights enshrined in this Charter and in particular to:
    1. collect and document information, commission inter-disciplinary assessment of situations on African problems in the fields of the rights and welfare of the child, organize meetings, encourage national and local institutions concerned with the rights and welfare of the child, and where necessary give its views and make recommendations to Governments;
    2. formulate and lay down principles and rules aimed at protecting the rights and welfare of children in Africa;
    3. cooperate with other African, international and regional Institutions and organizations concerned with the promotion and protection of the rights and welfare of the child.
  2. To monitor the implementation and ensure protection of the rights enshrined in this Charter.
  3. To interpret the provisions of the present Charter at the request of a State Party, an Institution of the Organization of African Unity or any other person or Institution recognized by the Organization of African Unity, or any State Party.
  4. Perform such other task as may be entrusted to it by the Assembly of Heads of State and Government, Secretary-General of the OAU and any other organs of the OAU or the United Nations.

Article 43: Reporting Procedure

  1. Every State Party to the present Charter shall undertake to submit to the Committee through the Secretary-General of the Organization of African Unity, reports on the measures they have adopted which give effect to the provisions of this Charter and on the progress made in the enjoyment of these rights:
    1. within two years of the entry into force of the Charter for the State Party concerned;
    2. and thereafter, every three years.
  2. Every report made under this Article shall:
    1. contain sufficient information on the implementation of the present Charter to provide the Committee with comprehensive understanding of the implementation of the Charter in the relevant country; and
    2. shall indicate factors and difficulties, if any, affecting the fullfilment of the obligations contained in the Charter.
  3. A State Party which has submitted a comprehensive first report to the Committee need not, in its subsequent reports submitted in accordance with Paragraph I (a) of this Article, repeat the basic information previously provided.

Article 44: Communications

  1. The Committee may receive communication, 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.
  2. Every communication to the Committee shall contain the name and address of the author and shall be treated in confidence.

Article 45: Investigations by the Committee

  1. The Committee may, resort to any appropriate method of investigating any matter falling within the ambit of the present Charter, request from the State Parties any information relevant to the implementation of the Charter and may also resort to any appropriate method of investigating the measures the State Party has adopted to implement the Charter.
  2. The Committee shall submit to each Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Govenrment every two years, a report on its activities and on any communication made under Article [44] of this Charter.
  3. The Committee shall publish its report after it has been considered by the Assembly of Heads of State and Government.
  4. State Parties shall make the Committee’s reports widely available to the public in their own countries.

Chapter Four: Miscellaneous Provisions

Article 46: Sources of Inspiration

The Committee shall draw inspiration from International Law on Human Rights, particularly from the provisions of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the Charter of the Organization of African Unity, the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, the International Convention on the Rights of the Child, and other instruments adopted by the United Nations and by African countries in the field of human rights, and from African values and traditions.

Article 47: Signature, Ratification or Adherence

  1. The present Charter shall be open to signature by all the Member States of the Organization of Afncan Unity.
  2. The present Charter shall be subject to ratification or adherence by Member States of the Organization of African Unity. The instruments of ratification or adherence to the present Charter shall be deposited with the Secretary-General of the Organization of African Unity.
  3. The present Charter shall come into force 30 days after the reception by the Secretary-General of the Organization of African Unity of the instruments of ratification or adherence of 15 Member States of the Organization of African Unity.

Article 48: Amendment and Revision of the Charter

  1. The present Charter may be amended or revised if any State Party makes a written request to that effect to the Secretary-General of the Organization of African Unity, provided that the proposed amendment is not submitted to the Assembly of Heads of State and Government for consideration until all the State Parties have been duly notified of it and the Committee has given its opinion on the amendment.
  2. An amendment shall be approved by a simple majority of the State Parties.
African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child
OAU Doc. CAB/LEG/24.9/49 (1990).