1.1 Introduction

In this study session you will learn about the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. They are referred to as international legal instruments or treaties. They both outline a broad range of rights that children are entitled to. They promote a philosophy of dignity and respect for children, challenging traditional views that children are passive recipients of care and protection.

While the UN Convention applies to children throughout the world, the African Charter was drawn up to address the particular situation of children in Africa. Both treaties include a number of rights directly and indirectly relevant to health. Knowledge of all these rights is important for health workers. This session will explain the rights in the UN Convention and the African Charter and help you to understand their relevance for your work.

Study note

For ease in reading the text, from hereon we will be referring to the UN Convention and the African Charter.

1 International and regional laws

1.2 Learning outcomes