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Accepted paper:

USING THE PAST TO SHAPE THE FUTURE: THE NIGERIAN CHILD RIGHTS ACT IN FOCUS

Author:

Fife Ogunde

Paper long abstract:

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC is the most significant child rights protection instrument in the 21st century. However, the CRC in itself still suffers from questions relating to its cultural legitimacy. The same applies to the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child(ACRWC) and even child rights protection instruments in individual African States. The Nigerian Child Rights Act(CRA) for example is not universally applicable in Nigeria notwithstanding recommendations issued by the Committee on the Rights of the Child to that effect. One will suggest that the very notion of children as rights holders remains difficult to fathom in the Nigerian and indeed other African societies. This paper aims to build a stronger case for the recognition of children as rights holders than is currently the case. In doing so, I intend to examine in-depth historical developments relating to the perception of children in Africa. Depending on the availability, accuracy and veracity of existing historical evidence, I intend to show through this paper that UNCRC AND ACRWC standards of child protection are not as 'foreign' to the African continent in general as existing opposition to implementation of these instruments suggest. This paper will develop a strong argument for children as right holders under the UNCRC and ACRWC through the fusion of positive pre-colonial and post-colonial societal attitudes to the four key elements of the UNCRC (child participation, right to survival and development, non-discrimination and the best interests of the child).

panel D22
Disciplinary trends in Africa: legal and socio-legal studies