In 2013 the Centre for Human Rights identified a gap in the capacity of pan-African institutions to generate and utilise evidence that could inform policy making in the area of children’s rights in Africa. In partnership with the Centre for Child Law at the University of Pretoria and the Children’s Rights Project at the University of Western Cape, the Centre therefore established the Children’s Rights Unit in order to fill this gap.
About the Unit
The Children’s Rights Unit is a pan-African platform established to carry out and support pan-African research in children’s rights, provide capacity strengthening training for government, intergovernmental and non-governmental institutions and organisations, as well as advocate for the promotion and protection of children’s rights in Africa.
So far, the Unit has carried out research on the impact of reporting on the realisation of children’s rights in Africa and is currently carrying out a second research project on the extent of implementation of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child in five countries across the continent. In the area of capacity strengthening, the Centre organises an advanced short course in children’s rights which has so far trained a great number of child researchers and practitioners across the continent. In the area of advocacy, the Unit, in collaboration with other organisations which partner with the Centre, has litigated two complaints before the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC).
The Children’s Rights Unit also aims to undertake to follow up on the implementation of the decisions rendered by the Committee in respect of two communications submitted by the Centre, in collaboration with its partners: the decision on the situation of children in Northern Uganda and the decision on the Senegal Talibé children. Through the Children’s Rights Unit, the Centre intends further to undertake to follow up on the Concluding Observations issued by the Committee in response to the South Africa’s Initial Country Report on the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child.
Collaboration between the Centre and the ACERWC
In December 2017, during the 30th Ordinary Session of the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (the Committee), the Centre for Human Rights was granted observer status with the Committee. Although this date formalised the relationship between the Centre and the Committee, the collaboration between the two institutions precedes this date, being founded on a commonality of goals and aspirations, which could be summarized as follows: to contribute to the realisation of children’s rights on the continent.
The Centre has brought two communications before the Committee: the communication against the Government of Uganda concerning children involved in armed conflict and the communication against the Government of Senegal concerning the Talibé children involved in begging. The Centre also took active part and had a presentation in the implementation hearing in connection to the Talibé case, in Lesotho, during the 29th Ordinary Session of the Committee. The Centre coordinated the research that led to the adoption of the Joint General Comment No 4 with the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, with which the Centre enjoys observer status as well.