All four countries have a constitution, and in Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda the constitution makes specific reference to children’s rights. A constitution is a set of fundamental principles, a framework of laws and established principles according to which a state is governed. In most countries any amendment to a constitution is designed to be a difficult process in order to give the constitution greater stability.

All laws and policies must comply with the constitution. For example, the Kenyan Constitution 2010 states that every child has the right:

to be protected from abuse, neglect, harmful cultural practices, all forms of violence, inhuman treatment and punishment, and hazardous or exploitative labour.

This means that it is not possible to introduce a law that undermines or reduces that right.