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THE AFRICAN COMMITTEE OF EXPERTS ON THE RIGHTS AND WELFARE OF THE CHILD: TEN YEARS ON. BENYAM DAWIT MEZMUR 2 nd Vice-Chair of ACERWC 5 th CSO Forum- Nov 2011. 1. Background. Creation in July 2001 Mandate of ACERWC in the Charter multifold and relatively generous

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the african committee of experts on the rights and welfare of the child ten years on

THE AFRICAN COMMITTEE OF EXPERTS ON THE RIGHTS AND WELFARE OF THE CHILD: TEN YEARS ON

BENYAM DAWIT MEZMUR

2nd Vice-Chair of ACERWC

5th CSO Forum- Nov 2011

1 background
1. Background
  • Creation in July 2001
  • Mandate of ACERWC in the Charter multifold and relatively generous
  • Brief of presentation: To highlight good practices, challenges, and opportunities.
  • Background on African Committee
  • Visibility deficit?
2 state reporting
2. State Reporting
  • Central to ACERWC mandate
  • Efforts to minimize onerous burden on reporting already done
  • Constructive dialogue- caliber of Government representatives very good
  • Timely reporting- still a BIG challenge
  • Has reporting stalled?
  • Potential options on the way forward?
3 communications
3. Communications
  • Relatively generous standing grounds
  • For instance Draft Optional Protocol 3 of CRC Committee relatively limited
  • In 2004, an incomplete “Communication” existed- on intercountry adoption
  • Children of Nubian descent case
  • Children and armed conflict case- pending
  • Only alleged violations in Africa?
4 investigations
4. Investigations
  • Potential of this mandate is huge
  • “may resort to any appropriate method of investigating any matter…”
  • Less resorted mandate
  • A number of reasons why this is the case
  • Uganda visit- and subsequent report- possibility of collaboration with the Peace and Security Council
5 other promotional protective mandates
5. (Other) promotional/protective mandates
  • Promotional visits- Ratification number=46
  • “formulate and lay down principles…”
  • The Day of the African Child (DAC)
    • Selection of themes (including child participation?)
    • Relevance/timeliness of themes
    • Involvement of CSOs in DAC
    • Concept note on themes, and reporting guidelines
    • UNICEF reported on DAC- Very promising
6 secretariat
6. Secretariat
  • Absence of a Secretary marked first 6 years
  • Justice Joyce Alouch’s office as Secretariat (?)
  • ANPPCAN seconded a temporary Secretary
  • Efforts to strengthen ongoing – (some through AU and ACERWC partners)
  • Committee's channel to the AU
  • Budget
  • Relocation of Secretariat?
7 engagement with partners
7. Engagement with partners
  • Engagement with AU organs/institutions…
    • African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights
    • African Court (PALU meeting in July, for eg. )
    • Regional Economic Communities (RECs)
    • Pan-African Parliament, Peace and Security Council, …etc
  • Engagement with UN agencies/structures
    • UNICEF
    • UNHCR, OHCHR, …
    • CRC Committee – joint activities? Follow-up on Concluding Observations?
    • Special Representatives of Secretary General on VAC…etc
7 engagement with partners cont d
7. Engagement with partners …cont’d
  • Engagement with INGOs and CSOs
    • CSO Forum
    • Observer status-
    • SIDA project
    • Direct (activity based) support to the Committee in exercising its mandate
    • … etc…
  • “Gov’t” institutions (for eg, National Human Rights Institutions)?
8 concluding remarks
8. Concluding Remarks
  • The challenges that the African child faces still remain wide
  • Recurring challenges exist
  • NO room for complacency! (see 2010-2014 POA)
  • Shift in priorities to continue (for e.g., more towards accountability, implementation, prevention than on standard setting; proactive than reactive;
  • Stay the course on the positives, follow through, and change on those where there is room for improvement
  • “Shared responsibility” central as we move ahead.
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