AFRICAN CHARTER ON THE RIGHTS AND WELFARE OF THE CHILD
Date of Adoption: July 01, 1990
Date of last signature: June 27, 2019
Date entry into force: November 29, 1999
The African Member States of the Organization of African Unity, Parties to the present Charter entitled African
Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child,
CONSIDERING that the Charter of the Organization of African Unity recognizes the paramountcy of Human
at everyone is entitled to
all the rights and freedoms recognized and guaranteed therein, without distinction of any kind such as race,
ethnic group, colour, sex, language, religion, political or any other opinion, national and social origin, fortune,
birth or other status,
RECALLING the Declaration on the Rights and Welfare of the African Child (AHG/ST.4 Rev.l) adopted by the
Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the Organization of African Unity, at its Sixteenth Ordinary
Session in Monrovia, Liberia, from 17 to 20 July 1979, recognized the need to take appropriate measures to
promote and protect the rights and welfare of the African Child,
NOTING WITH CONCERN that the situation of most African children, remains critical due to the unique
factors of their socio-economic, cultural, traditional and developmental circumstances, natural disasters, armed
special safeguards and care,
RECOGNIZING that the child occupies a unique and privileged position in the African society and that for the
full and harmonious development of his personality, the child should grow up in a family environment in an
atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding,
RECOGNIZING that the child, due to the needs of his physical and mental development requires particular
care with regard to health, physical, mental, moral and social development and requires legal protection in
conditions of freedom, dignity and security,
TAKING INTO CONSIDERATION the virtues of their cultural heritage, historical background and the values
of the African civilization which should inspire and characterize their reflection on the concept of the rights and
welfare of the child,
CONSIDERING that the promotion and protection of the rights and welfare of the child also implies the
performance of duties on the part of everyone,
REAFFIRMING ADHERENCE to the principles of the rights and welfare of the child contained in the
declaration, conventions and other instruments of the Organization of African Unity and in the United Nations
and in particular the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child; and the OAU Heads of State and
HAVE AGREED AS FOLLOWS:
RIGHTS AND DUTIES
RIGHTS AND WELFARE OF THE CHILD
Obligation of State Parties
1. Member States of the Organization of African Unity, Parties to the present Charter shall recognize the
rights, freedoms and duties enshrined in this Charter and shall undertake the necessary steps, in
accordance with their Constitutional processes and with the provisions of the present Charter, to adopt
such legislative or other measures as may be necessary to give effect to the provisions of this Charter.
2. Nothing in this Charter shall affect any provisions that are more conducive to the realization of the rights and
welfare of the child contained in the law of a State Party or in any other international Convention or agreement
in force in that State.
3. Any custom, tradition, cultural or religious practice that is inconsistent with the rights, duties and obligations
contained in the present Charter shall, to the extent of such inconsistency, be discouraged.
Definition of a Child
For the purposes of this Charter, a child means every human being below the age of 18 years.
Every child shall be entitled to the enjoyment of the rights and freedoms recognized and guaranteed in this
language, religion, political or other opinion, national and social origin, fortune, birth or other status.
Best Interests of the Child
1. In all actions concerning the child undertaken by any person or authority the best interests of the child shall be
the primary consideration.
1. In all judicial or administrative proceedings affecting a child who is capable of communicating his/her
own views, an opportunity shall be provided for the views of the child to be heard either directly or
through an impartial representative as a party to the proceedings, and those views shall be taken into
consideration by the relevant authority in accordance with the provisions of appropriate law.
Survival and Development
1. Every child has an inherent right to life. This right shall be protected by law.
2. State Parties to the present Charter shall ensure, to the maximum extent possible, the survival, protection and
development of the child.
3. Death sentence shall not be pronounced for crimes committed by children.
Name and Nationality
1. Every child shall have the right from his birth to a name.
2. Every child shall be registered immediately after birth.
3. Every child has the right to acquire a nationality.
State Parties to the present Charter shall undertake to ensure that their Constitutional legislation recognize the
principles according to which a child shall acquire the nationality of the State in the territory of which he has
Freedom of Expression
Every child who is capable of communicating his or her own views shall be assured the rights to express his
opinions freely in all matters and to disseminate his opinions subject to such restrictions as are prescribed by
Freedom of Association
Every child shall have the right to free association and freedom of peaceful assembly in conformity with the law.
Freedom of Thought, Conscience and Religion
1. Every child shall have the right to freedom of thought conscience and religion.
2. Parents, and where applicable, legal guardians shall have the duty to provide guidance and direction in the
exercise of these rights having regard to the evolving capacities, and best interests of the child.
3. State Parties shall respect the duty of parents and where applicable, legal guardians, to provide guidance and
direction in the enjoyment of these rights subject to the national laws and policies.
Protection of Privacy
No child shall be subject to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his privacy, family home or correspondence,
or to the attacks upon his honour or reputation, provided that parents or legal guardians shall have the right to
exercise reasonable supervision over the conduct of their children. The child has the right to the protection of the
law against such interference or attacks.
1. Every child shall have the right to education.
2. The education of the child shall be directed to:
lity, talents and mental and physical abilities to their
(b) fostering respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms with particular reference to those set out in the
ights and international human rights
declarations and conventions;
(c) the preservation and strengthening of positive African morals, traditional values and cultures;
(d) the preparation of the child for responsible life in a free society, in the spirit of understanding, tolerance,
dialogue, mutual respect and friendship among all peoples, ethnic, tribal and religious groups;
(e) the preservation of national independence and territorial integrity;
(f) the promotion and achievement of African Unity and Solidarity;
(g) the development of respect for the environment and natural resources;
3. State Parties to the present Charter shall take all appropriate measures with a view to achieving the full
realization of this right and shall in particular:
(a) provide free and compulsory basic education:
(b) encourage the development of secondary education in its different forms and progressively make it free and
accessible to all;
(c) make higher education accessible to all on the basis of capacity and ability by every appropriate means;
(d) take measures to encourage regular attendance at schools and the reduction of drop-out rates;
(e) take special measures in respect of female, gifted and disadvantaged children, to ensure equal access to
education for all sections of the community.
4. State Parties to the present Charter shall respect the rights and duties of parents, and where applicable, of legal
guardians, to choose for their children schools other than those established by public authorities, which conform
to such minimum standards as approved by the State, to ensure the religious and moral education of the child in a
manner consistent with the evolving capacities of the child.
5. State Parties to the present Charter shall take all appropriate measures to ensure that a child who is subjected
to schools or parental discipline shall be treated with humanity and with respect for the inherent dignity of the
child and in conformity with the present Charter.
6. State Parties to the present Charter shall take all appropriate measures to ensure that children who become
pregnant before completing their education shall have an opportunity to continue their education on the basis of
their individual ability.
7. No part of this Article shall be construed as to interfere with the liberty of individuals and bodies to establish
and direct educational institutions subject to the observance of the principles set out in Paragraph I of this Article
and the requirement that the education given in such institutions shall conform to such minimum standards as
may be laid down by the States .
Leisure, Recreation and Cultural Activities
1. State Parties shall recognize the right of the child to rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational
activities appropriate to the age of the child and to participate freely in cultural life and the arts.
2. State Parties shall respect and promote the right of the child to fully participate in cultural and artistic life and
shall encourage the provision of appropriate and equal opportunities for cultural, artistic, recreational and leisure
1. Every child who is mentally or physically disabled shall have the right to special measures of protection in
keeping with his physical and moral needs and under conditions which ensure his dignity, promote his selfreliance and active participation in the community.
2. State Parties to the present Charter shall ensure, subject to available resources, to a disabled child and to those
condition and in particular shall ensure that the disabled child has effective access to training, preparation for
employment and recreation opportunities in a manner conducive to the child achieving the fullest possible social
integration, individual development and his/her cultural and moral development.
3. The State Parties to the present Charter shall use their available resources with a view to achieving
progressively the full convenience of the mentally and physically disabled person to movement and access to
public highway buildings and other places to which the disabled may legitimately want to have access to.
Health and Health Services
1. Every child shall have the right to enjoy the best attainable state of physical, mental and spiritual health.
2. State Parties to the present Charter shall undertake to pursue the full implementation of this right and in
particular shall take measures:
(a) to reduce infant and child mortality rate;
(b) to ensure the provision of necessary medical assistance and health care to all children with emphasis on the
development of primary health care;
(c) to ensure the provision of adequate nutrition and safe drinking water;
(d) to combat disease and malnutrition within the framework of primary health care through the application of
(e) to ensure appropriate health care for expectant and nursing mothers;
(f) to develop preventive health care and family life education and provision of service;
(g) to integrate basic health service programmes in national development plans;
(h) to ensure that all sectors of the society, in particular, parents, children, community leaders and community
workers are informed and supported in the use of basic knowledge of child health and nutrition, the advantages
of breastfeeding, hygiene and environmental sanitation and the prevention of domestic and other accidents;
(i) to ensure the meaningful participation of non-governmental organizations, local communities and the
beneficiary population in the planning and management of basic service programmes for children;
(j) to support through technical and financial means, the mobilization of local community resources in the
development of primary health care for children.
1. Every child shall be protected from all forms of economic exploitation and from performing any work that is
2. State Parties to the present Charter take all appropriate legislative and administrative measures to ensure the
full implementation of this Article which covers both the formal and informal sectors of employment and having
State Parties shall in particular:
(a) provide through legislation, minimum wages for admission to every employment;
(b) provide for appropriate regulation of hours and conditions of employment;
(c) provide for appropriate penalties or other sanctions to ensure the effective enforcement of this Article;
(d) promote the dissemination of information on the hazards of child labour to all sectors of the community.
Protection Against Child Abuse and Torture
1. State Parties to the present Charter shall take specific legislative, administrative, social and educational
measures to protect the child from all forms of torture, inhuman or degrading treatment and especially physical
or mental injury or abuse, neglect or maltreatment including sexual abuse, while in the care of the child.
2. Protective measures under this Article shall include effective procedures for the establishment of special
monitoring units to provide necessary support for the child and for those who have the care of the child, as well
as other forms of prevention and for identification, reporting referral investigation, treatment, and follow-up of
instances of child abuse and neglect.
Administration of Juvenile Justice
1. Every child accused or found guilty of having infringed penal law shall have the right to special treatment in a
rights and fundamental freedoms of others.
2. State Parties to the present Charter shall in particular:
(a) ensure that no child who is detained or imprisoned or otherwise deprived of his/her liberty is subjected to
torture, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment;
(b) ensure that children are separated from adults in their place of detention or imprisonment;
(c) ensure that every child accused of infringing the penal law:
(i) shall be presumed innocent until duly recognized guilty;
(ii) shall be informed promptly in a language that he understands and in detail of the charge against him, and
shall be entitled to the assistance of an interpreter if he or she cannot understand the language used;
(iii) shall be afforded legal and other appropriate assistance in the preparation and presentation of his defence;
(iv) shall have the matter determined as speedily as possible by an impartial tribunal and if found guilty, be
entitled to an appeal by a higher tribunal;
(d) prohibit the press and the public from the trial.
3. The essential aim of treatment of every child during the trial and also if found guilty of infringing the penal
law shall be his or her reformation, reintegration into his or her family and social rehabilitation.
4. There shall be a minimum age below which children shall be presumed not to have the capacity to infringe the
Protection of the Family
1. The family shall be the natural unit and basis of society. It shall enjoy the protection and support of the State
for its establishment and development.
2. State Parties to the present Charter shall take appropriate steps to ensure equality of rights and responsibilities
of spouses with regard to children during marriage and in the event of its dissolution. In case of the dissolution,
provision shall be made for the necessary protection of the child.
Parental Care and Protection
1. Every child shall be entitled to the enjoyment of parental care and protection and shall, whenever possible,
have the right to reside with his or her parents. No child shall be separated from his/her parents against his/her
will, except when a judicial authority determines in accordance with the appropriate law, that such separation is
in the best interest of the child.
2. Every child who is separated from one or both parents shall have the right to maintain personal relations and
direct contact with both parents on a regular basis.
3 Where separation results from the action of a State Party, the State Party shall provide the child, or if
appropriate, another member of the family with essential information concerning the whereabouts of the absent
member or members of the family. State Parties shall also ensure that the submission of such a request shall not
entail any adverse consequences for the person or persons in whose respect it is made.
4. Where a child is apprehended by a State Party, his parents or guardians shall, as soon as possible, be notified
of such apprehension by that State Party.
1. Parents or other persons responsible for the child shall have the primary responsibility for the upbringing and
development the child and shall have the duty:
(a) to ensure that the best interests of the child are their basic concern at all times;
(c) to ensure that domestic discipline is administered with humanity and in a manner consistent with the inherent
dignity of the child.
2. State Parties to the present Charter shall in accordance with their means and national conditions take all
(a) to assist parents and other persons responsible for the child and in case of need, provide material assistance
and support programmes particularly with regard to nutrition, health, education, clothing and housing;
(b) to assist parents and others responsible for the child in the performance of child-rearing and ensure the
development of institutions responsible for providing care of children; and
(c) to ensure that the children of working parents are provided with care services and facilities.
For full charter please download below:
African charter the Rights and Welfare of the Child-English Version
African charter the Rights and Welfare of the Child-French Version
African charter the Rights and Welfare of the Child-Arabic Version