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The Inter-Agency Working Group on Children (IAWG) is a group of international and regional non-governmental organisations that have supported the development and implementation of the East Africa Community Child Policy.

This group is composed of United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Save the Children International, Plan International, World Vision International, the African Child Policy Forum (ACPF), the African Platform for Social Protection (APSP), Regional Inter-Agency Task Team on Children Affected by AIDS (RIATT-ESA) and Elizabeth Glaser Paediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF).

The main goal of the IAWG is to support the EAC Secretariat and Partner States in the implementation of the EAC Child Policy and the formulation, implementation of related policies, global standards and norms. They support this function through the provision of technical and financial support and forging effective partnerships with Civil Society Organisations working in the area of children.

The IAWG also aims to work with the governments, other EAC Organs and the African Committee on the Rights and Welfare of the Child to promote accountability through regular and systematic monitoring and reporting of progress in the promotion of Child rights in the region.

Instruments Policy Priority Area 1:  Ratification, domestication, and implementation of international instruments

Objective: To promote a regional approach of ratification and domestication of international child rights instruments.


1.1. Develop an advocacy strategy for ratification and domestication of all pending Child Rights international instruments by Partner States.

  • Identify gaps in the ratification and domestication of International Child Rights Instruments

  • Country consultations based on the assessment of gaps

  • Develop an EAC Strategy on ratification and domestication

  • Implementation of the Regional Advocacy Strategy on ratification and domestication

1.2. Urge Partner States to develop implementation plans for the Child Rights international instruments.

  • Develop a common approach/ framework to NPAs in the EAC

  • Hold cross-learning Forums on the implementation of NPAs in the EAC

  • Build capacity of duty bearers for the implementation of NPAs

1.3. Put in place a monitoring mechanism to track the ratification, domestication and implementation of all Child Rights international instruments

Establish a harmonised Regional Periodic State Reporting Matrix on Status of ratification, domestication and implementation of International and Regional Child Rights Instruments




ProgressProgress in the implementation of Priority Area One:

  • So far, the baseline study on the implementation of Child Rights commitments by the EAC Partner States is the reference document highlighting the status of ratification and domestication of International Child Rights Instruments in the EAC Partner States.

  • Cognizant of the fact that the Baseline Study was carried before the Republic of South Sudan (RSS) joined the East African Community, the EAC Secretariat with support from the African Child Policy Forum (ACPF) commissioned a similar study in RSS. The Baseline Study on the implementation of Child Rights in the Republic of South Sudan is now complete.

 

Instruments Policy Priority Area 2:  Harmonization of national laws & policies to the African Charter, UNCRC and International Child Rights instruments

Objective: To encourage all partner states to correspond and implement all national laws of international child rights instruments.


2.1. Harmonise the minimum ages of marriage, sexual consent, conscription into armed forces in line with the definition of the Child which is any person below the age of 18 years (as provided by the UNCRC and the ACRWC).

  • Identifying gaps between national and international laws on child rights

  • Ensure the inclusion of these basic children’s rights in the Constitutions and Child Acts of all Partner States

  • Enact an EAC Bill on Child Rights where Partner States laws are brought in compliance with the rights and freedoms enshrined in the UNCRC and the ACRWC

2.2. Define and harmonise the minimum age for criminal responsibility and employment across policies and legislations in Partner States

  • Harmonise national legislations with the provisions of the ACRWC and the CRC

  • Harmonised national legislation complies with International Labour (ILO) Standards on Child labour

2.3. Develop and implement a regional framework for the harmonisation of Child Rights related policies and legislations including Child justice

  • Hold consultations on child justice in the EAC

  • Develop a harmonised format/structure of the legislative measures to be undertaken by Partner States




ProgressProgress in the implementation of Priority Area Two:

  • In October 2018 the study on the Harmonization of Laws on Children by EAC Partner States was concluded. The study provided an in-depth analysis of harmonization of laws on children by EAC Partner States following their ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC). The study report also analyses some relevant thematic areas covered in the other nine objectives of the EAC Child Policy; and establishes that Partner States have done commendable work on harmonization of laws as guided by the UNCRC and the ACERWC but to varying extents. The study is a valuable tool for those Partner States that have not achieved much to build on the lessons of those that have made considerable progress.


 

Instruments Policy Priority Area 3:  Right to Citizenship and Identity

Objective: All Partner States enhance birth and death registration systems


3.1. Strengthen the Birth and Death Registration Systems in all Partner States

  • Carry out an Assessment of the gaps in Birth and Death Registration Systems, especially in relation to marginalized groups or districts with particularly low birth registration rates.

  • Raise awareness on all Civil registration

  • Establish and strengthen electronic mobile registration systems in the relevant institutions

3.2. Ensure that each child has a nationality

  • Conduct a study on the impact of lack of nationality affecting children the EAC region

  • Establish electronic identity documents for all registered children among all Partner States (2018 – 2019)

  • Develop regional/national action plans that undertake relevant actions under the Global Action Plan

  • Build awareness on safeguards to prevent statelessness among children

  • Build capacity of legal professionals and the justice sector on statelessness, citizenship and nationality issues



 


 

Instruments Policy Priority Area 4:  Cross border Child Rights violations

Objective: To prevent and respond to all cross-border child rights violations in all Partner States


4.1. Put in place and strengthen a collaborative framework and administrative mechanisms that prevent and respond to cross border child rights violations

  • Conduct a baseline survey on child related border crimes

  • Conduct needs-assessment on existing border infrastructure, including preventive and response mechanisms and personnel capacities.

  • Develop training tools on mitigating cross border violations.

  • Conduct joint capacity building trainings of border management officers, local authorities, civil society on collective efforts in identifying and mitigating cross border violations and in child-sensitive reception and asylum systems.

  • Develop a collaborative framework, including information sharing among border authorities.

  • Establish child protection and guardianship systems for children deprived of parental care and child victims of trafficking and other cross border violations

4.2. Strengthen collaboration between development partners, UN agencies, Partners States and the EAC Secretariat to address cross border Child Rights violations

  • Establish an electronic system to track and record cross border movements of children with valid travel documents

  • Establish an Integrated Cross-Border child-rights violations Management Information system.

4.3 Strengthen the investigative capacities of cross border immigration and law enforcement agencies to be more responsive and vigilant to child rights violations.

  • Develop and disseminate circulate handbooks, manuals and other tools

  • Train law enforcement officials on investigation and mitigation of cross border violations of child rights.

  • Create public awareness on cross border child rights violations

4.4 Put in place a Juvenile justice system at the regional level

  • Harmonise the definition of ‘a juvenile’ and the age of criminal responsibility among Partner States

  • Institute separate correction and remand facilities, Juvenile courts, ensure due process and legal representation, protect the dignity of the juvenile and abolish corporal punishments.

  • Establish child protection units at police stations, as well as child-friendly courts.




ProgressProgress in the implementation of Priority Area Four:

  • There are various cross border issues in the EAC and some beyond the jurisdiction of the East Africa Partner States to neighbouring countries that may not be in the EAC. As such, Priority is outward oriented in approach, responsibility but also in the issues. It is against this background that the EAC aims to collaborate with the other RECs and the African Union to address common issues such as migration, refugee management, conflicts and disasters and other violations especially Female Genital Mutilation, Child Marriage and trafficking.

    Various workshops have been organized by African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC) in the Regional Economic Communities including the East African Community (EAC). The objective is establishing a harmonised approach to curb and address child rights violations.

    The proposal for an ACERWC and Inter-REC collaboration plan was presented and adopted at the 34th Ordinary Session of the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child in November, 2019, in Cairo, Egypt.


 


East African Community
EAC Close
Afrika Mashariki Road
P.O. Box 1096
Arusha
United Republic of Tanzania

Tel: +255 (0)27 216 2100
Fax: +255 (0)27 216 2190
Email: eac@eachq.org