The call was made by the Peace and Security Council of the AU in a statement issued Friday that followed the council’s recent meeting that dwelt upon the promotion and protection of the rights and welfare of children in situations of conflict in Africa.
The council "reaffirmed Africa’s commitment to continue to take appropriate measures to promote and protect the rights and welfare of the African child," the statement read.
It underscored the need to prevent the grave violations against children’s rights and welfare, which include wanton killing and maiming of children, recruitment or use of children in armed forces and groups, attacks on schools and hospitals, rape and other grave sexual violence, abduction, and denial of humanitarian access.
The council called on AU member states to redouble efforts and prioritize local programs, which promote the rights and protection of children and anchor a culture of child protection both in peacetime and conflict situations.
It further called on African countries to promote the exchange of best practices, fostering regular exchanges, as well as establishing and strengthening existing capacity-building efforts that promote children’s rights and welfare.
It emphasized the imperative to develop a continental child justice framework addressing both punitive measures as well as the recourse and restitution elements for child survivors.
The council further stressed that child protection should be gender transformative and mainstreamed in all governance, peace and security mechanisms and processes, including early warning, conflict prevention, management, resolution, peace support operations, and post-conflict reconstruction and development.
Commending AU member states that have signed, ratified and domesticated the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, the council further urged the remaining five AU member states, which are yet to sign, ratify and domesticate the charter, to follow suit in order to make the charter fully owned by the entire continent.