A communication is a complaint that can be submitted before the Committee regarding an alleged violation of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (Charter) against a State Party. Article 44 of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child 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.’ The Committee has adopted Guidelines for Consideration of Communications and Monitoring Implementation of Decisions (Guidelines) to set out the procedures and rules to be followed in dealing with Communications.
According to the article 44 of the Charter and Section I of the Guidelines, any interested person including victims, any group of persons, CSOs, intergovernmental organizations and agencies, and State Parties can submit a Communication before the Committee. A Communication could be submitted without obtaining the consent of the victims if the submission is made in the best interest of the child.
Once the Committee receives a Communication, it will conduct a preliminary review to determine whether the communication meets the form and content requirements which are set out in Section II of the Guidelines. The Committee will then consider the admissibility of the Communication based on the requirements for admissibility as provided in Section IX of the Guidelines. If a communication is declared admissible, the Committee will then consider the merits of the case which deals with the alleged violations. In the merits decision, the Committee can consider whether the State Party concerned has violated the rights in the Charter and can call for that State to remedy the situation. Where a right has been violated, the State Party concerned is required to report on the implementation of the measures being taken to implement the decisions of the Committee.
The Committee undertakes various follow-up activities to monitor the implementation of its decisions on Communications. These include, follow-up country visits, implementation hearings as provided under the Guidelines, report to the Executive Council of the African Union, among others. See Section XXII of the Guidelines for further details on implementation of decisions. The Committee has also set up a Working Group on Implementation of Decisions which is tasked to mainly to monitor the implementation of decisions of the Committee.