Child marriages in Zimbabwe and the failure by the State to fulfil its obligations to protect the rights of childrenPosted: 26 August, 2021 Filed under: Nqobani Nyathi | Tags: ACERWC, Africa, African Commission, child marriage, child marriages, children's rights, Committee of Experts on the Rights of the Child, constitution, Constitution of Zimbabwe, discrimination, gender inequality, girl child, human rights, Maputo Protocol, Marriage Act, Marriages Bill, provisions, religion, religious justification, religious sects, reproductive health, rights of children, rule of law, sexual rights, SRHR, women's rights, Zimbabwe Leave a comment
Author: Nqobani Nyathi
Researcher, Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria
Recently, there have been reports about a 14-year old child who died during childbirth. The reason why such a tragedy happened and may continue to happen is the State’s failure or unwillingness to eradicate child marriages. This article seeks to outline Zimbabwe’s legislative framework regarding child marriages and its obligations in terms of international law.
The legal position
Child marriage is illegal in Zimbabwe as held by Zimbabwe’s Constitutional Court. In January 2016, the apex court rightly found that the legislative provisions legalising child marriages were inconsistent with the Constitution of Zimbabwe. The Constitution has fairly strong provisions promoting and protecting the rights of children, including the right to be protected from sexual exploitation or any form of abuse. The Court also observed that historically there has been a “lack of common social consciousness on the problems of girls who became victims of early marriages.”
The fact that child marriages had to be declared illegal through litigation exposes this lack of common social consciousness. Zimbabwe had been clinging to the archaic law legalising the marriage of children in terms of both the Marriage Act 81 of 1964 and the Customary Marriages Act 23 of 1950.
Effectiveness of intervention measures to address female genital mutilation in Ethiopia: A discussionPosted: 14 May, 2019 Filed under: Henok Ashagrey | Tags: bodily harm, Children and Youth’s Affairs, children's rights, Constitution of Ethiopia, Criminal Code of Ethiopia, cultural practice, Ethiopia, female genital mutilation, fgm, harmful customs, Harmful practices, infibulation, Ministry of Women, North Shewa, rights of children, violations, violence against women, women's rights Leave a comment
Author: Henok Ashagrey
Legal Researcher at the Secretariat of the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child
Despite certain signs of progress, interventions to address harmful practices in the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (Ethiopia) are still ineffective. To be effective, these interventions require more inclusivity, stronger cooperation between levels of government, and a focus on changing societal values.
Harmful practices are a principal factor in the violations of women’s rights in Ethiopia. For example, in the North Shewa rural region in the North of Ethiopia, where I come from, harmful practices against women and girls, particularly female genital mutilation (FGM), are accepted as valid cultural practice. The practitioners of FGM justify their acts on religious and cultural grounds.
Promoting and protecting children’s rights in Africa: Case of the Talibés of Senegal.Posted: 31 May, 2018 Filed under: Henrietta Ekefre, Jonathan Obwogi, Samuel Ade Ndasi, Susan Mutambasere | Tags: ACERWC, African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, children's rights, daaras, financial targets, forced child begging, la Rencontre Africaine pour la Defense des Droits de l’Homme, RADDHO, religious schools, Senegal, street begging, Talibés 1 Comment
Authors: Coordinator and members of the Implementation Clinic of the Centre for Human Rights
|Henrietta Ekefre||Samuel Ade Ndasi||Susan Mutambasere||Jonathan Obwogi|
In 2012, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, together with La Rencontre Africaine pour la Defense des Droits de l’Homme (RADDHO), an NGO in Senegal, submitted a case to the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC). The case concerned children forced into street begging in Senegal.
Since the 1980s, Senegal has had a challenge with access to primary education, which leaves thousands of children unable to get absorbed in the mainstream schools. Further, religion plays an important role in the upbringing of children. These have contributed to a situation where at least 100 000 children are enrolled in daaras (religious schools) often far away from their parents. The daaras are administered by marabouts who are religious leaders and not trained educators. These children who are called talibés live in deplorable and overcrowded conditions where they are subjected to various forms of abuse. The marabouts exploit the talibés by making them beg on the streets. In some instances, children are given financial targets to reach, failure of which results in punishment. There is no provision of medical care should the talibés fall sick as they essentially have to fend for themselves.
Why we need both words and actions to help Africa’s childrenPosted: 23 May, 2018 Filed under: Assefa Bequele | Tags: access to justice, African Governments, African Union, Call to Action, children, children suffering, children's rights, civil society organisations, Continental Conference on Access to Justice for Children, informal justice system, NGOs, prison, UN agencies, UN Global Study Leave a comment
Author: Dr Assefa Bequele
Executive Director, Africa Child Policy Forum (ACPF)
We’re often told that actions speak louder than words, and it’s true we won’t change lives by simply talking about the problems. But I also think that you can’t make a real impact unless you’ve thoroughly debated and agreed what needs to be done. Words first, then actions.
I was reminded of this at the Continental Conference on Access to Justice for Children, held recently in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. More than two hundred child rights experts, politicians, lawyers and civil society activists came together to try and find a way forward for the thousands of children across Africa who are denied access to justice. It’s easy for the cynics to dismiss such conferences as talking shops – fine words and discussions, but little in the way of concrete action. And if we had simply presented and debated the issues, there could have been some truth in that
Strengthening children’s rights in Africa: Some lessons from the new Children’s Act of AngolaPosted: 4 June, 2013 Filed under: Aquinaldo Mandlate | Tags: Africa, African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC), Angola, basic education, children, children's rights, Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), culture, food, juvenile justice, life expectancy, literacy, Mozambique, nutrition, socio-economic rights, sports, violence against children 2 Comments
Author: Aquinaldo Mandlate
LLD (UWC), LLM (UP) Licenciatura em Direito (UCM)
On 22 August 2012, Angola enacted a new Children’s Act, adding to the number of African countries (including South Africa, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Lesotho, and many others) which reviewed their legislation focusing on children’s rights. Angolan law, like many other recent African legislation on children, is comprehensive and detailed in multiple aspects of children’s rights. Some of its features are common in other similar instruments in the region. For instance, it protects children’s civil and political rights and their socio-economic rights. The right to life, the right to health and the right to basic education, amongst others are protected. In addition, the law entrenches the four principles forming the core of international and regional treaties dealing with children’s rights (the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC) included), including the principles of non-discrimination (Article 2 of the CRC and Article 3 of the ACRWC), best interest of the child (Article 3 of the CRC and Article 4 of the ACRWC), the right to life survival and development (Article of the 6 CRC and Article 5 of the ACRWC), and the right of the child to participate (Article 12 CRC and Article 7 of the ACRWC). These principles are also part and parcel of other modern African child legislation.
A detailed account of the similarities between the Angolan Children’s Act and other instruments falls beyond the objectives of this contribution. However, I would like to highlight some of the major contributions (amongst others not discussed here) as a result of the Act, in efforts to advance children’s rights.
The State’s ineptitude or indisposition to deal with Eastern Cape education is a continuous violation of children’s rightsPosted: 16 May, 2013 Filed under: Akho Ntanjana | Tags: ACERWC, children's rights, constitution, Constitutional Court, CRC, Eastern Cape, education, empowerment, human rights, ICESRC, Kenya, Nubian children, President Zuma, right to education, schools, Section 100, Section 26, South Africa, UNICEF, United Nations, women Leave a comment
Author: Akho Ntanjana
Legal intern, Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa (IHRDA), Banjul, The Gambia
Without citing any empirical evidence, it is known that the quality of school facilities has an indirect effect on learning and ultimately on its output. For instance, in a study carried out in India (1996), out of 59 schools in a region, only 49 had structures. Of these 49 schools, 25 had a toilet, 20 had electricity, 10 had a school library and four had a television set. In this study, the quality of the learning environment was strongly correlated with pupils’ achievement in Hindi and mathematics.
Further, a research study was conducted in Latin America that included 50 000 students in grades 3 and 4, it was found that learners whose schools lacked classroom materials and had inadequate libraries were significantly more likely to show lower test scores and higher grade repetition than those whose schools were well equipped (see the United Nations Children’s Fund’s paper ‘Defining Quality Education’). There are many other studies done even in Africa, for example in Botswana, Nigeria and Papua New Guinea, indicating similar outcomes.
There seem to be a correlation between good school infrastructures, other quality dimensions (inter alia the quality of content, psychological aspects, quality processes involved) and the achievement of higher grades by learners. In this opinion piece, I examine the state of education in the Eastern Cape, and the failure by the South Africa government to meet its constitutional and international obligations to provide basic education.