Officiating at an occasion to mark the Day of the African Child at Arusha Primary School yesterday, Justice Aboud made this assertion when answering questions raised by some pupils on the role the court plays in safeguarding the rights of children.
The court can and will hear all matters related to child rights abuse, she stated, pointing out that children cannot come to the court directly, as they need to involve their parents, guardians or elders in their community in reporting issues or filing cases.
Young people should speak up against all injustices experienced in their communities or families, she emphasised, saying that the world marks the Day of the African Child “because there were children who many years ago dared to stand up against all odds, in opposing the oppressive system in apartheid South Africa.”
“As it happens also, the recently launched African Court’s five-year strategic plan, 2021-2025 intends to actively address and seek out new ways to strengthen the complementary nature of the court's human rights protection mandate, including the Rights and Welfare of the Child,” she told the gathering.
Getting the work done will involve closer engagement with national human rights stakeholders such as national courts, human rights institutions and non-governmental organizations, including those operating at the regional and continental level, along with bar associations, academia and the media fraternity, she elaborated.
Victor Lowilla, the CHPR Legal Officer, had earlier said that African children still suffer human rights abuses, including forced labour in mines as in the Congo, being drafted into fighting groups in Central Africa, assimilated in rebel causes, while being compelled to beg or trade in the streets, in Tanzania.
“And we still have many children being denied the right to attend school,” he specified.
Through its newly launched strategy, the court plans closer cooperation with the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, the African Governance Architecture Platform members, notably the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, along with courts of regional economic communities.
“And we also envisage enhancing our collaboration with international partners, such as United Nations human rights bodies. European and Inter-American human rights courts and institutions,” the court president stated.
“It is therefore expected that in five years’ time the African Court will be transformed into a continental legal entity which can present tangible evidence of its increased efficiency and effectiveness, which will in turn have led to greater credibility in the capacity of the AU human rights system to make a positive difference in the lives of African individuals and peoples,” she added.