1.9 Guiding principles of the UN Convention and the African Charter

The Convention and the Charter contain four rights that have also been adopted as guiding principles. They are:

  • The right to non-discrimination (Article 2)
  • The best interests of the child must be a primary consideration (Article 3)
  • The right to life and optimum development (Article 6)
  • The right to be heard and taken seriously (Article 12)

In other words, these four rights must guide the way all other rights are implemented. This means that, for example, when looking at the right to health, the guiding principles must inform the way you treat a child, and the way services are run.


For ease of reading, in the following text we refer only to the UN Convention when explaining the general principles: however, our discussion applies equally to the African Charter.

1.8 African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child

The right to non-discrimination