A communication refers to a ‘complaint’ (‘individual complaint’) brought before a treaty body alleging the violation of a right contained in the treaty. Communications are important because through the adjudication process, tangible meaning is given to the provisions of the treaty, which may otherwise remain theoretical and abstract.

Article 44 is the basis for individual complaints/communications under the ACRWC. Article 44 of the ACRWC provides that the “Committee may receive communications, from any person, group or non-governmental organization recognized by the Organization of African Unity,by a Member State, or the United Nations relating to any matter covered by this Charter.” Thus, individual communications can be presented by a larger number of physical persons and moral entities. (See Communications Guidelines)

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Decisions on Communications

So far, the Committee has received 10 communications against State Parties among which 5 have been finalised.

The first Communication was filed in 2005 by Michelo Hunsungule on behalf of children in Northern Uganda against the Government of Uganda and was declared admissible by the Committee. The Committee rendered its decision.

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The second Communication is related to the child’s right to nationality. It was received in April 2009, from the Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa (IHRDA) and the Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI) on behalf of children of Nubian Descent in Kenya against the Government of Kenya. The Committee has given a decision on this communication.

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The third Communication deals with child begging and was filed by the Centre for Human Rights and La Rencontre Africaine pour la Défense des Droits de l’Homme against the Government of Senegal. A decision was given on this case.

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The fourth Communication was filed by IHRDA against the Government of Malawi alleging the Constitution of the Republic of Malawi , excludes children of 16-18 ages from the protection of several international human rights instruments – most notably the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. An Amicable settlement was reached under the auspices of the Committee and Malawi amended its Constitution to align the definition of the child with article 2 of the Charter.

The fifth Communication  was submitted by Minority Rights Group International and SOS-Esclaves against the Republic of Mauritania. The communication is concerning two brothers who, according to the complainants, have been held as slaves to the to the El Hassine family in Mauritania.

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