Child rights legislation

Strengthening Child Protection Systems in Sub- Saharan Africa: A Call to Action - Joint Inter-agency Statement

This Statement draws on a growing body of practice and evidence on child protection systems strengthening in Sub-Saharan Africa,1 and is inspired by the dialogue and findings of a multi-agency conference on the topic that took place in Dakar, Senegal in May 2012. Ten organisations convened on April 10–11, 2013 in Dakar to determine the technical content of this Statement.2 Readers may wish to refer to the substantial body of literature and resources on child protection systems in sub-Saharan Africa that was assembled and organised after the Dakar conference, including the Working Paper on Child Protection Systems Strengthening in Sub-Saharan Africa.


Strategic plan of action for orphans and other vulnerable children 2007-2011: Republic of Rwanda

Strategic plan of action for orphans and other vulnerable children 2007-2011: Republic of Rwanda

The Government of Rwanda is committed to ensuring that the fundamental rights of all children are realised. However, in Rwanda we have 1.26 million orphans and countless vulnerable children whose rights have been violated as a result of the combined effects, especially the consequences of the genocide; the chronic poverty experienced by some households; and the threat of HIV/AIDS.

One of the guiding principles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Rwanda National Policy on Orphans and other Vulnerable Children, 2003, is the principle of participation of the child in the actions and decisions that concern him or her. The two National Children’s Forums organised in April 2004 and in January 2006 respectively have provided an opportunity for children’s voices to be heard about issues affecting them and for them to make some key recommendations which have been used to inform the National Plan of Action for Orphans and other Vulnerable Children.

The national costed plan of action for most vulnerable children 2007-2010: United Republic of Tanzania


The national costed plan of action for most vulnerable children 2007-2010: United Republic of Tanzania

Tanzania , like other sub-Saharan countries, continues to be deeply affected by HIV and AIDS. The epidemic poses a threat to the country’s economic and social development and has exacerbated the vulnerability of most children, their households, and communities. A rapid increase in the number of MVC in the country has necessitated development of workable interventions for scaling up protection, care, and support—that is, the NCPA.

The NCPA will serve as a reference tool for government and stakeholders in their efforts to improve the lives of MVC and promote the rights of children. The thrust of the plan is to develop and implement safety net systems that will deliver multifaceted care and support at the household level. It puts forward a concrete work schedule, specifying stakeholder’s responsibilities and providing a clear framework for the continuation, improvement, and scaling up of OVC interventions. Periodic monitoring and evaluation exercises will guide the quality and effectiveness of the response.

The African report on child wellbeing: How child-friendly are African governments? - Zimbabwe


The African report on child wellbeing: How child-friendly are African governments? - Zimbabwe

The African Report on Child Wellbeing provides an insight into the wellbeing of children in Africa and assesses the extent to which governments meet their obligations, through a ground-breaking Childfriendliness Index – developed by The African Child Policy Forum (ACPF). The Government of Zimbabwe ranked 37th in the Child-friendliness Index out of the 52 African governments covered in the assessment. This was mainly for two reasons: first, as a result of the Government of Zimbabwe not putting in place appropriate legal provisions to protect children against abuse and exploitation; and secondly, because of lower commitment in allocating adequate share of the national budget to provide for the basic needs of children. However it did show some success in achieving relatively favourable wellbeing outcomes as reflected on children themselves.

National responses for children affected by AIDS: Review of progress and lessons learned

National responses for children affected by AIDS: Review of progress and lessons learned

This report was commissioned by the Inter-Agency Task Team on Children affected by HIV and AIDS’ (IATT-CABA) working group on National Plans of Action (NPAs). It presents a broad overview of progress made and lessons learned in mounting national responses for children affected by AIDS and other vulnerable children. Based on review findings, future actions are suggested to strengthen national responses and ultimately, improve outcomes for children.

National policy on orphans and vulnerable children: Republic of Kenya - Draft 3

National policy on orphans and vulnerable children: Republic of Kenya - Draft 3

The HIV/AIDS pandemic, alongside other forms of socio-economic deprivation is a major contributor towards susceptibility of the Kenyan family today. The plight of children is at stake with the number of orphans being expected to rise to two million by 2010, with HIV/AIDS contributing up to 60% of the total cases. These children have indeed limited access to psychosocial and economic support, leading them to being the most vulnerable of our Kenyan society.

In response to this a National Steering Committee (NSC) on Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) was constituted in May 2004, to deliberate upon interventions. The Committee is headed by the Ministry of Home Affairs. A rapid assessment on the state of OVC was carried out in June 2004, with the support of various development partners. The report of this assessment informed on the regrettable vulnerability of children, demanding immediate action. Consequently the NSC noted the need to come up with a national policy on OVC to steer intervention.

Family first: prioritising support to kinship carers, especially older carers

Family first: prioritising support to kinship carers

This paper demonstrates how recognising the value of kinship care, and addressing the challenges faced by children and carers, is likely to lead to a range of positive outcomes, including improved education and child protection, and better physical health and psychosocial well-being for older persons.

In some countries in sub-Saharan Africa, 90% of children who have lost one or both parents are looked after by relatives, in many countries, the effects of HIV & AIDS have left older relatives caring for children, and in countries such as Malawi, where large numbers of adults migrate for work, children are being cared for by their grandparents or other relatives.

Most of these arrangements are informal and therefore children and their carers may be missing out on social protection and benefits. Older carers may find it difficult to support children financially. While many kinship carers do their best, children, especially girls, may be exposed to discrimination and abuse.

The prevalence of kinship care means that this issue is not just of concern for those with a narrow alternative care or child protection remit, but also requires commitments from agencies working in health, social protection, justice and education to ensure that the needs of children in kinship care and their carers are met.

For more information on this initiative, please contact:

Every child's right to be heard: A resource guide on the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, general comment no. 12

Since the adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989, Article 12 – the provision that children have a right to express their views and have them taken seriously in accordance with their age and maturity – has proved one of the most challenging to implement.

This resource guide provides practical help on implementating article 12 by providing examples of legislation and policy, guidelines for practitioners, evidence from research, and examples of meaningful participation in practice. It draws together experiences from around the world to enable governments to learn from each other, build on existing developments, and broaden understanding of the scope and meaning of Article 12.

National plan of action for orphans and other vulnerable children: Zimbabwe

National plan of action for orphans and other vulnerable children: Zimbabwe

An estimated 761,000 children in Zimbabwe have lost one or both parents to HIV/AIDS. Projections suggest that by the year 2005, there will be approximately 1.1 million children under the age of 15 who will have been orphaned due to AIDS. In response to this crisis, the Government of Zimbabwe has endorsed the urgent need for coordinated, expanded interventions to strengthen existing work being undertaken by government ministries, nongovernmental organisations (NGOs), community-based organisations (CBOs), faith-based organisations (FBOs) and United Nations (UN) agencies. With support from the Social Services Action Committee of the Cabinet (SSACC), a national stakeholders' conference was held in Harare in June 2003 to widen the consultative process and secure broad-based support for a National Plan of Action (NPA) for Orphans and other Vulnerable Children (OVC).

Namibia National Agenda for Children 2012-2016

Namibia's National Agenda for Children 2012-2016

The Namibia National Agenda for Children 2012-2016 is a call to action to put the constitutional mandate on the rights of children into implementable strategies. The Agenda is anchored on five pillars: health and nourishment; early childhood development and schooling; HIV prevention, treatment, care and support; adequate standard of living and legal identity; and protection against neglect and abuse.

The importance of Namibia developing its first-ever National Agenda for Children was highlighted through the publication of Children and Adolescents in Namibia 2010: A Situation Analysis, and through a review of the National Plan of Action for Orphans and Vulnerable Children (2006-2010). Two critical issues were identified through these processes: that Namibia needed to adopt a multi-sectoral approach to planning and implementation towards child-centred development, and that we needed to look more broadly at the concepts of vulnerability and inequity through the lens of a child’s life cycle.

Through a broad-based consultative process which involved government, NGOs, civil society organisations, children and development partners, the national commitments for children were identified, discussed and prioritised. While these five-year commitments have been integrated into current sector policies and plans to a large extent, the National Agenda for Children brings them together concisely, which will enable all stakeholders to plan, implement and monitor their actions for children in a coordinated manner. The Agenda also serves as a major contribution to overall national development planning processes.

While the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare has been assigned the task of facilitating the development of the national agenda for children, the primary responsibility for ensuring that is is implemented lies with the line ministries and their partners.

Convention on the rights of the child

Convention on the rights of the child.pdf

The States Parties to the present Convention,
Considering that, in accordance with the principles proclaimed in the Charter of the United Nations, recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,

Bearing in mind that the peoples of the United Nations have, in the Charter, reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights and in the dignity and worth of the human person, and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,

Recognizing that the United Nations has, in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in the International Covenants on Human Rights, proclaimed and agreed that everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth therein, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status,

Recalling that, in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the United Nations has proclaimed that childhood is entitled to special care and assistance,

Convinced that the family, as the fundamental group of society and the natural environment for the growth and well-being of all its members and particularly children, should be afforded the necessary protection and assistance so that it can fully assume its responsibilities within the community,

Recognizing that the child, for the full and harmonious development of his or her personality, should
grow up in a family environment, in an atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding,

Considering that the child should be fully prepared to live an individual life in society, and brought up in the spirit of the ideals proclaimed in the Charter of the United Nations, and in particular in the spirit of peace, dignity, tolerance, freedom, equality and solidarity,

Bearing in mind that the need to extend particular care to the child has been stated in the Geneva Declaration of the Rights of the Child of 1924 and in the Declaration of the Rights of the Child adopted by the General Assembly on 20 November 1959 and recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (in particular in articles 23 and 24), in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (in particular in article 10) and in the statutes and relevant instruments of specialized agencies and international organizations concerned with the welfare of children,

Bearing in mind that, as indicated in the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, "the child, by reason of his physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth",

Recalling the provisions of the Declaration on Social and Legal Principles relating to the Protection and Welfare of Children, with Special Reference to Foster Placement and Adoption Nationally and Internationally; the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice (The Beijing Rules) ; and the Declaration on the Protection of Women and Children in Emergency and Armed Conflict, Recognizing that, in all countries in the world, there are children living in exceptionally difficult conditions, and that such children need special consideration,

Taking due account of the importance of the traditions and cultural values of each people for the protection and harmonious development of the child, Recognizing the importance of international cooperation for improving the living conditions of children in every country, in particular in the developing countries,

Have agreed as follows