San Diego International Law Journal

Library of Congress Authority File


Document Type



In adopting the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (“African Child Charter”) on July 1, 1990, Africans, through the Organization of African Unity, officially recognized the need to guarantee the fundamental rights of all children. They also imposed obligations on all African States to recognize the rights, freedoms and duties enshrined in the African Child Charter and required States to take all necessary measures to give effect to these rights. To aid in the realization of these rights, each African State was expected to domesticate the African Child Charter and create rights that are justiciable in its domestic courts. In addition to the fact that domestication of the African Child Charter and other international human rights instruments in some African States has faced opposition from religious groups and traditionalists, corruption, lack of political will, and the failure of many countries to provide themselves with independent and fully functioning judiciaries, constrain the realization of children’s rights. The right to basic education is one of the most important of the collection of rights and freedoms guaranteed children by the African Child Charter. Without access to education, the African child will fail to develop the skills that he or she needs to evolve into a productive and contributing member of his or her community. Unfortunately, various forms of corruption continue to constrain the ability of many African children to realize the right to education guaranteed them by international and regional human rights instruments and by their national constitutions. The key to ensuring that the African child’s right to education is realized is institutional reforms to produce a governing process undergirded by the rule of law—that is one that can improve government efficiency and hence, minimize corruption, guarantee the independence of the judiciary, and generally enhance the protection of the rights of children, including especially their right to education.