The African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child finalized its 36th Ordinary Session which was held virtually from 23 November to 04 December 2020.
The 36th Session was attended by representatives of Member States, RECs, NHRIs, UN Agencies, International and National Organisations, children’s organizations, and regional networks of CSOs working on children’s rights.
The Opening Ceremony of the Session featured high personalities including the Guest of Honor H.E. Dr. Moeketsi Majoro, the Right Honorable Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Lesotho; H.E. Mrs. Amira Elfadil Mohammed, Commissioner of Social Affairs; Hon Joseph Ndayisenga, Chairperson of the ACERWC; Hon Justice Sylvian Oré, President of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights; and Mr. Gilbert Sebihogo, Executive Director of NANHRIs. Remarks were also made by Thabang Ramaipato and Haufi Thatho from Lesotho representing children; Mr. Jephthe Mve Mvondo from UNICEF and Ms. Felistus Motimedi representing the CSO Forum.
As part of the Session and in the context of the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, the Committee organized regional workshops that brought together the Member States and other stakeholders from the five regions of the Continent. During the workshops, discussions were made to assess the level of implementation of the Charter as well as Agenda 2040, Africa’s Agenda for Children, in the Member States of the African Union. Following the workshops, the Committee adopted Outcome Statements on each region outlining the progress achieved, challenges faced, and actions that should be undertaken in the realization of children’s rights in the respective regions.
The major activities are undertaken and decisions issued by the Committee during its 36th Ordinary Session include:
- Hon Moushira Khattab from Egypt was sworn in as a new member of the Committee in replacement of the late Hon Azza Al Ashmawey who passed away on 16 April 2020.
- The Committee launched a database on State Party reports and concluding observations and recommendations that aim at making information on the State Party reporting mechanism easily and systematically accessible.
- The Committee considered the complimentary report of the CSO of Guinea on the State Party report of the Republic of Guinea in preparation for the State Party report consideration.
- The Committee received briefings and interacted with various mandate-holders within the UN system including, Dr. Najat Maalla M’jid- the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence Against Children (SRSG/VAC), Prof Siobhán Mullally- the UN Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons especially in women and children, and Ms. Mama Fatima Singhateh- the UN Special Rapporteur on the Sale and Sexual Exploitation of Children.
- The Committee also received a statement from H.E. Baye Moctar Diop, Ambassador of Senegal and Chairperson of the PRC Sub-Committee on Human Rights, Democracy and Governance.
- The Committee appointed the following Country and Special Reporters as part of its Special Mechanisms:
- Hon. Moushira Khattab- Special Rapporteur on Education, and Country Rapporteur for the Republic of Somalia, Republic of Cape Verde, State of Eritrea and the State of Lybia;
- Hon Hermine Kembo Takam Gatsing – Special Rapporteur on the Right to Name, Birth Registration, and Nationality and as Country Rapporteur on Burkina Faso, Republic of Cote d’Ivoire, Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Republic of Gambia, Republic of Ghana and Republic of Niger; and
- Hon Aboubekrine El Jera-Country rapporteur for the Kingdom of Morocco, People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria, Union of Comoros, Arab Republic of Egypt, Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic, and the Republic of Tunisia; and
- Hon Joseph Ndayisenga- Country Rapporteur for Equatorial Guinea and Sao tome and Principe, in addition to his prior appointment;
The Committee adopted the theme for the Day of the African Child (DAC) for 2022 to be ‘Eliminating Harmful Practices Affecting Children: Progress on Policy and Practice since 2013’.
The Committee also decided to establish a Working Group on Children with Disabilities; and endorsed the proposal to establish a Working Group on Children in Armed Conflict, the details of which will be presented at the 37th ordinary Session.
The Committee considered and adopted the following documents:
- The Continental Study on Harmonization of Laws in Africa (done jointly with ACPF);
- The Study on the Assessment of the Implementation of Agenda 2040;
- The Study on assessing AU’s response to children in a conflict situation; and
- Policy Brief on Aspiration 9 of Agenda 2040.
The Committee decided to undertake an assessment study on the situation of teenage pregnancy in African countries.
The Committee further decided to hold a Day of General Discussion on Sexual Reproductive Health Rights of Adolescents during its upcoming Session.
The Committee decided to hold its 37th Ordinary Session on 15-26 March 2021.
Done virtually at the 36th Ordinary Session on 04 December 2020.