African Court marks international day of the African Child

Tema, – The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Right has joined the global community to mark the International Day of the African Child at Arusah, Tanzania.

The African Court associates with the commemoration of the day as it falls in line with the protective mandate of the Court which also covers the protection of the rights of children as provided under the African Charter which provides for the right to education, right to take part in the cultural life the community, right to health.

Lady Justice Imani D. Aboud, President of the African Court stated that the commemoration was especially significant as it reminded of the outstanding bravery and courage of the thousands of African school children.

She noted those children on June 16th, 1976, in Soweto, South Africa, took to the streets to claim their rights and protest about the substandard quality of education they were receiving, and to demand their right to be taught in their own language.

Hundreds of these children were shot dead by the police during the protests and several injured.

“The commemoration is significant because, the Mission of the African Court is to enhance the protective mandate of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights by strengthening the human rights protection system in Africa.

“Ensure the respect for and compliance with the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Charter) as well as other international human rights instruments, through judicial decisions,” Justice Aboud stated in a document made available to the Ghana News Agency in Tema.

“As a mother, grandmother, and President of the only continental judicial body, the African Court, which is the judicial arm of the African Union, I am particularly gratified with this year’s theme: “Access to Child- Friendly Justice Systems in Africa,” she noted.

She said the day was significant because it draws attention to the lives of all the African children; and expressed concern about some of the human rights violations against children that was reported in the recent past by international and national human rights organizations in some African countries.

It is of great concern to the African Court of the increased violence against children, right to education, early marriages, repulsion from schools for pregnant girls, increased exposure of children to HIV infection; child exploitation and forced labour to mention but a few.

The African Court President noted that Children’s rights are protected at international, continental and domestic levels; “they are guaranteed and protected under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child of 1989 and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child of 1990,” she said.

Lady Justice Aboud reminded African Governments of the numerous international instruments which require the state to take all appropriate measures to protect children within its territory from all forms of abuse such as torture; violence; inhuman or degrading treatment; and especially sexual abuse and exploitation.

She noted that most African Governments had enacted Laws of the Child Act which integrated most of the rights provided for in the international and regional instruments.

“It is therefore incumbent on governments to put in place measures to mitigate and address such violations by ensuring that the legislative frame work is in place.

“That government policies take into account the situation and rights of children and other vulnerable groups and to ensure that the environment in which the children reside is conducive to implement the measures and strategies,” she said.

Source: Ghana News Agency

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