African Children’s Charter 81 Monrovia, Liberia, from 17 to 20 July 1979, recognised the need to take all 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 conflicts, exploitation and hunger, and on account of the child’s physical and mental immaturity he or she needs special safeguards and care; Recognising that the child occupies a unique and privileged position in the African society and that for the full harmonious development of his personality, the child should grow up in a family environment in an atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding; Recognising 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 civilisation which should inspire and characterise 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 declarations, conventions and other instruments of the Organization of African Unity and of the United Nations and in particular the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the OAU Heads of State and Government’s Declaration on the Rights and Welfare of the African Child; HAVE AGREED as follows: PART I: RIGHTS AND DUTIES CHAPTER ONE: Rights and Welfare of the Child Article 1: Obligation of state parties 1. The member states of the Organization of African Unity Parties to the present Charter shall recognise the rights, freedoms and duties enshrined in this Charter and shall undertake to take 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 realisation 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. Article 2: Definition of a child For the purposes of this Charter, a child means every human being below the age of 18 years.

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