THE AFRICAN UNION OF THE BLIND OBTAINS OBSERVER STATUS TO THE AFRICAN COMMITTEE OF EXPERTS ON THE RIGHTS AND WELFARE OF THE CHILD ACERWC
On December 15, 2017, the African Union of the Blind (AFUB) was awarded a prestigious end year gift by the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC). At the ACERWC 30 th Ordinary Session held in Khartoum, Sudan on 6 th – 16 th December, our application to the Committee for Observer Status was approved under reference No. OBS/026/2017.
ACERWC draws its establishment and mandate from the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC) that came into force in 1999. The Charter that complements the efforts of the global Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) – that was adopted a decade earlier – realizes the rights of the child within the unique yet diverse context of Africa. In particular, the ACRWC obliges the Committee to “promote and protect the rights enshrined in the Charter…monitor the implementation of the rights…interpret the provisions of the Charter at the request of a State Party (of the AU), an institution of the AU or any other person or institution recognized by the AU….and perform such other tasks as may be entrusted to it by the Assembly of Heads of State and Government.”
AFUB’s strategic framework on engagement with the AU aims at prioritizing issues of blind and partially sighted persons in the agenda of African Governments. AFUB is already enjoying a good working relationship with the African Disability Alliance (ADA), the African Disability Forum (ADF) and equally important, the African Union Division of Social Affairs to advance the realization of the African Disability Protocol and the Marrakech Treaty.
Consequently, our new relationship with ACERWC, which is also an AU organ is a catalyst towards achievement of our ambition and bolstering of these noble relationships. Additionally, the honour and Status to Observe empowers us to initiate as well as strengthen existing programmes and campaigns that will promote and protect the rights of children with disability in Africa, with particular reference to those who are blind and partially sighted.