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Unformatted text preview: he Foundations of Rights in the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child: A Historical and Philosophical Account Thoko Kaime …………………………… Abstract This article examines the cultural-based critiques of the international human rights paradigm generally and children’s rights in particular, with specific reference to Africa. In this regard, the paper attempts to identify gaps in the analyses of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. Towards that end, the paper proceeds in three parts. In the first section, it situates the discussion within the general framework of children’s rights at international law. In the next section, it turns to an examination of the culture-based critiques of the idea of universal rights. Finally, in the fourth and fifth sections, it analyses the documents and literature that focus on the rights and welfare of the child. In the concluding section, the author raises several important questions regarding the propriety of this special category of human rights in the African context. Senior teaching fellow, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. 2009 © The Africa Law Institute; all rights reserved. Cite as: 3 Afr. J. of Leg. Stud. (2009) 120-136. AJLS is a free peer-reviewed and interdisciplinary journal published by The Africa Law Institute. To download or comment on current articles, sign-up for future issues or submit a manuscript, please visit <http://www.africalawinstitute.org/ajls>. Each issue of the journal is also available to subscribed researchers throughout the world via CIAO Net, HeinOnline, Lexis-Nexis, ProQuest, Quicklaw and Westlaw. AJLS welcomes books for review and inquiries from scholars and experts wishing to serve on our consultative board. E-mail Charles Chernor Jalloh, Founding Editor-in-Chief, at [email protected] . T 3 Afr. J. Leg. Stud. (2009) 120-136 - 121 – I. Introduction The preamble to the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (‘the African Children’s Charter’ or ‘the Charter’) 1 makes two important statements regarding the instrument’s conception of the rights and welfare of the child. Firstly, it identifies the Charter’s foundation as the principles of the international law on the rights and welfare of the child as contained in the declarations, conventions and other instruments of the Organisation of African Unity and the United Nations. 2 Significantly, the Charter specifically mentions the Convention on the Rights of the Child (‘the Convention’ or ‘the CRC’), 3 a nd the Declaration on the Rights and Welfare of the African Child (‘the African Children’s Declaration’). 4 Secondly, the Charter charges that the concept of the rights and welfare of the child should be inspired and characterised by the virtues of African cultural heritage, historical background and the values of the African civilisation. In other words, the Charter requires that the rights and welfare of the child, which are...
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