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1990 | African Charter on the rights and welfare of the child

This charter contains several provisions relevant to the protection of children from sexual violence and exploitation and against child betrothal or marriage. Under Art 10 children (people under the age of 18) have the right to protection of their privacy and their honor and reputation.

Art 16 obliges States Parties to ‘take specific legislative, administrative, social and educational measures’ to protect the child from all forms of torture and degrading treatment including sexual abuse. The Article further obliges the State to establish effective monitoring procedures for children who have experienced such abuse and to provide for identification, reporting, referrals, investigation and treatment.

Art. 21 specifically prohibits child marriage and betrothal and requires legislation stipulating the minimum age and making registration of all marriages compulsory. Art. 27 prohibits sexual abuse and exploitation of children, including inducement, coercion or encouragement of a child to engage in any sexual activity. Child prostitution is also explicitly prohibited.

Finally, Art. 42(b) mandates the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child to ‘monitor the implementation and ensure protection of the rights enshrinedin this Charter.’

Somalia signed the charter in 1991 but, regrettably, has not ratified it as of February 2015. It is worth noting that Sudan is not a signatory to the Charter.