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The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the African Child Today: Progress or Problems?
American University International Law Review (2009)
  • Uche Ewelukwa
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (“UDHR”) has provided inspiration for declarations and treaties throughout Africa, which have improved the quality of living for many. The special attention in UDHR given to the rights of children has yet to significantly benefit children in Africa. Under UDHR’s influence, agreements like The African Charter on Human and People’s Rights and several African state constitutions promoted children as bearers of rights, but such agreements are inhibited by the four tyrannies: culture, poverty, corruption, and globalization. UDHR does little to prevent harmful cultural and religious practices directed towards children, especially girls, because certain customs and injustices are too entrenched in societies. The culture-clash between the Western ideas UDHR promotes and African social norms is evident in the conflicting images of childhood. The UDHR treats childhood as a time of play, which isn’t applicable to the African children who must work to survive. Poverty and corruption have slowed changes for children that UDHR hoped to bring about. Globalization has led to intensified child trafficking, sexual exploitation, and forced labor. But the success of the Human Rights movement leaves room for optimism for African children over the next sixty years. The promise of technological advances, new institutional partnerships, and new leadership may bring with them a promise of a better future for Africa’s children.
  • Universal Declaration of Human Rights,
  • UDHR,
  • Children’s Rights,
  • African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child,
  • ACRWC,
  • United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child,
  • CRC,
  • globalization.
Publication Date
Citation Information
Uche Ewelukwa. "The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the African Child Today: Progress or Problems?" American University International Law Review Vol. 25 (2009)
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