16 June 2011
The 16th of June is commemorated each year as the Day of the African Child. This commemoration was adopted on 16 June 1991 to honour those who had laid down their lives for the cause of freedom in South Africa. By adopting this day as the Day of the African Child, the African Union has drawn attention to the plight, not only of children in South Africa, but also to the plight of children across Africa. The day has also become an opportunity to examine the progress of the implementation of the regional African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. This Charter, which came into force in November 1999 is the first regional treaty on the rights of the child and complements the African Charter on Human and People's rights as well as the United Nations convention on The Rights of the Child. Despite the progressive nature of the treaty and initiatives that accompany it, there remain enormous challenges such as poverty, violence and disease to overcome before justice to the status of the child can be claimed. Each year a specific issue facing The African Child is chosen as a particular focus, and the focus for the day this year is ending child marriage in Africa.