The Inter Agency Working Group (IAWG) on Child Rights in East Africa (constituting of Save the Children, Plan International, World Vision International, Elizabeth Glaser Paediatric AIDS Foundation, Africa Platform for Social Protection and The African Child Policy Forum) together with the East Africa Community (EAC) joins all children in Africa and globally to mark 25 years of a journey towards a world fit for children.
On November 20 1989, the United Nations adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), which sets out the rights of children in order to ensure
their protection, survival, development and participation. The adoption of the UNCRC heralded a new era for the children of the world: It presented children as bearers of rights and not just needy dependents. The UNCRC recognises several rights of all children (persons below the age of 18 years) including rights to life, education, health, an identity, protection from abuse, freedom to play, amongst others.
25 years of the UNCRC
As we celebrate 25 years of the Convention in Africa we take stock of the gains made. All nations of the world except Somalia and United States of America have ratified the UNCRC and continue to report on their efforts to implement the rights recognised in the Convention. One year after the adoption of the UNCRC, the African Union adopted the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC). To-date, the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of Child reports that a total of 47 countries have ratified this Charter as well as the UNCRC and continue to report and implement the African Charter.
This Charter makes Africa the only continent with a region-specific child rights instrument which is not only built on the basic principles of the UNCRC, but also seeks to address the peculiar challenges children in Africa face, such as female genital mutilation, early and forced marriages, armed conflict and internal displacement. The Charter is also the only treaty that recognises the responsibilities of children in line with African socialisation. Together, the UNCRC and the ACRWC provide a solid foundation for the promotion and protection of children’s rights across Africa.