This Guide aims to be a resource for civil society organizations (CSO) who are interested in finding out more about the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC) and the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (the Committee). It reflects important developments relating to the Committee’s work civil society organizations’ engagement with the Committee and the functioning of the CSO Forum on the ACRWC.
This guide is intended to be a comprehensive resource for finding out more about the charter and the committee. It can be used by organizations that already use and know the charter but want specific information about how to engage with the committee. It can also be used by organizations new to the charter and the committee who are interested in reading in more detail about their history and background and the relationship between the committee, the African Union (AU) and regional economic communities (RECs).
The guide is split into Six Parts:
- Part One introduces the guide.
- Part Two gives an overview of the history and content of the ACRWC and looks at how it relates to the CRC. It also considers the committee’s mandate, its members and its achievements so far.
- Part Three is the most practical section and examines how civil society can access and work with the Committee to advance children’s rights in Africa. It provides practical examples from CSOs which have used the Charter’s procedures. It covers the many ways in which CSOs can interact with the Committee.
- Part Four looks at how the Committee fits into the structures of the AU.
- Part Five provides sources of further information.
- Part Six consists of three annexes: a ratification table for the Children’s Charter which indicates at least formally when State party reports may be due; and a list of past and present Committee members.
The Guide does not aim to examine the ways in which civil society dealing with children’s issues should engage with the AU as a whole. It focuses instead on exploring the relationships and linkages between the various AU institutions and the Committee and how they can work together to implement the Charter. It also explores how civil society organizations can work with the Committee to strengthen its relationships within the AU and with external bodies such as the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, as well as with RECs.