The ACERWC draws its mandate from Articles 32-46 of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, which was adopted by the Heads of State and Government of the OAU on 11th July 1990 and came into force on 29th November 1999.
The Charter provides for the establishment of an African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child consisting of 11 members.
The functions of the Committee include the following:
- Promote and protect the rights enshrined in the Charter.
- Collect and document information, commission interdisciplinary assessment of situations on African problems in the fields of the rights and welfare of the child, organize meetings, encourage national and local institutions concerned with the rights and welfare of the child and where necessary give its views and make recommendations to Governments.
- Formulate and lay down principles and rules aimed at protecting the rights and welfare of children in Africa.
- Cooperate with other African, international and regional institutions and organisations concerned with the promotion and protection of the rights and welfare of the child.
- Monitor the implementation and ensure that the rights enshrined in the Charter are protected.
- Interpret the provisions of the Charter at the request of a State Party, an institution of the OAU/AU or any other person or institution recognised by OAU/AU.
- Perform such other tasks as may be entrusted to it by the Assembly of Heads of State and Government.
The framework of cooperation between the Committee and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) is outlined in the Committee’s Rules of Procedure (sections 34, 37, 81 and 82) and the Criteria for Granting Observer Status to Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and Associations.
So far, the Observer Status has been granted to about 20 international organisations and NGOs working on the promotion and protection of the rights and welfare of the Child in Africa.