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Persistent Socioeconomic and Political Dilemmas to the Implementation of the 1989 United Nations' Convention on the Rights of the Child in sub-Saharan Africa

NCJ Number
Child Abuse & Neglect Volume: 34 Issue: 1 Dated: January 2010 Pages: 10-17
Munyae M. Mulinge
Date Published
January 2010
8 pages
This essay argues that despite the ratification of the 1989 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) by sub-Saharan African countries, children's rights continue to be violated across most of Africa.
The CRC is the first international human rights treaty to bring together the universal set of standards concerning children in a unique instrument, and is the first to present children's rights as a legally binding imperative. In furthering the arguments of a 2002 essay, the current essay argues that many African countries could not guarantee and protect the rights of children, because these rights require governments to enact legislation and craft policies in the midst of significant socioeconomic and political conditions that made such action difficult if not impossible. In 2002, poverty was identified as a leading factor that prevented most African countries from protecting the rights of children. In addition, poor countries continue to be plagued by corruption of governmental and legal institutions responsible for legislation, policies, and enforcement related to CRC guarantees for children. Other factors undermining the implementation of the CRC in African countries are the prevalence of HIV/AIDS and armed conflict and wars. It is essential that African governments take action to implement their commitment to children's rights beyond the mere multiplication of instruments of intention. This involves a comprehensive approach that decreases, if not eradicates, poverty, corruption, and the spread of HIV/AIDS, and minimizes all forms of armed conflicts and wars. In addition, existing legislation that pertains to children's rights should be more stringently enforced. Public support for these efforts should be enlisted through education of the public about children's rights, including the guarantees of the CRC. 1 table and 32 references