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Guidelines on Action for Children in the Justice System in Africa



Download the Kampala Conference Report

The Munyonyo Declaration on Child Justice in Africa


About the Organisers : ACPF and DCI

Defence for Children International (DCI) is an independent non-governmental organisation that has been promoting and protecting children’s rights on a global, regional, national and local level for over 30 years.  When the movement was founded in 1979, few international structures were dedicated to using a human rights-based approach in addressing the many problems faced by the world's children.  DCI was established in direct response to this void.  DCI has more than 40 national sections (in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Pacific, Latin America and Europe) and associated members who carry out concrete programmes to promote and protect the rights of children

At the DCI International Conference held in Bethlehem in 2005 under the theme “Kids Behind Bars”, A Child Rights Perspective and at the most recent International General Assembly held in Brussels in October 2008, on “Violence against Children in Conflict with Law”, DCI confirmed its commitment to maintaining juvenile justice as its priority concern. In the Brussels Declaration, DCI reconfirmed its commitment to the guiding principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, General Comment No.10 on Children’s Rights in Juvenile Justice.

The African Child Policy Forum (ACPF) is an independent, not-for-profit, pan-African institution of policy research and dialogue on the African child. ACPF was established with the conviction that putting children first on the public agenda is fundamental for the realisation of their rights and wellbeing and for bringing about lasting social and economic progress in Africa. ACPF believes that  knowledge of the problems, of what can be done, and of how, that  advocacy for policy and legal reforms, and that policy dialogue, partnership and  collective action are key for effecting change in Africa.

Over the past five years, ACPF has undertaken an audit of national laws and policies in several African countries. The studies have revealed gaps and weaknesses in the domestication and harmonisation of national laws.

ACPF’s work on harmonisation of laws focuses on facilitating law reform and assisting governments in the harmonisation of their laws with international and regional instruments on children.  And in a bid to move from rhetoric to action in the next five years,  ACPF plans to engage partners and experts in the development of guidelines for policy and legislative changes that enhance the legal protection of children.

A recent international and comparative report published by ACPF - Children’s Legal Protection Centre: A Good Practice Report - has confirmed the important role such initiatives can play in promoting and upholding legal protection of children.  Building on the experience of the Children’s Legal Protection Centre in Addis Ababa, ACPF aims at promoting the implementation of such programmes in Africa.

ACPF and DCI intend to work together through this conference to bring to the attention of Governments in Africa, policy makers, child rights practitioners and other players the alarming gaps in local legislations, policies, structures, procedures and resources for the administration of child justice in Africa.

Draft guidelines for Child-friendly Justice in Africa, developed by a team of experts from DCI and ACPF will be presented at the Conference for comments and endorsement.  Both DCI and ACPF will subsequently advocate for the enforcement of these guidelines by African states through the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC) as well as the African Union.

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