n African Human Rights Law Journal - Children's rights in Africa : A legal perspective, J. Sloth-Nielsen (Ed.) : recent publication

Volume 9, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1609-073X
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2096



The notion that children are rights-bearers, rather than passive recipients of their parents' and the state's paternalistic favour and largesse, is of relatively recent origin. Under international law, a treaty dealing with children's rights, specifically, was only adopted in 1989, following a similar development in respect of women. In Africa, the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) followed suit by adopting the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (African Children's Charter) in 1990. This treaty only entered into force in 1999. In the intervening period, a number of post-1990 constitutions of African states started incorporating children's rights. In many African states, one of the prominent features of legal reform in the twenty-first century has been the further elaboration and adoption of national laws pertaining to children.

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