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May 8-10, 2018 African Child Policy Forum (ACPF) and Defence for Children International (DCI) Co-organised a three-day Continental Conference on Access to Justice for Children in Africa: Spotlighting the invisible, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Can justice for children approach to ensure that all children are better served and protected by the justice system? What are the pathways, and what rigorous evidence exists? These and other questions were deliberated by more than 200 children’s rights campaigners and defenders, lawyers, academics, journalists, heads of state, policy-makers and lawmakers during the conference, organised from 8-10 May 2018 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia by ACPF and DCI.

The conference’s key background report – Spotlighting the Invisible: Justice for Children in Africa – produced to better understand the problem and inform policy actions for accelerating the realisation of children’s right to access to justice brought out issues that can guide interventions.

Key amongst are that despite some progress, hundreds of thousands of African children are still being denied access to justice. Equally, the use of “informal justice” – traditional, religious, ethnic or community-based customs – presents big challenges in protecting children. While positive elements of these systems must not be disregarded, they are also not regulated so they follow the same international children’s rights standards as their formal counterparts. Further, certain groups of children considered vulnerable have a disproportionately difficult time in accessing justice through both the formal and informal justice mechanisms.

The conference Call for Action which was unanimously adopted and endorsed by all participants (https://app.box.com/s/86wy0cy0mdz9jdllhniw9vtm9z0u5t8x) aimed to serve as clarion to governments and all other stakeholders involved in child justice in Africa to intensify their efforts, to reach out to the most vulnerable children, and to ensure the implementation of agreed universal standards for the rights and protection of our children. Download the conference materials including the report, call to action, programme, concept note, participant list and presentations here.


On 12 May 2021, the government of Namibia launched a National Plan to End Violence against Children and Youth at inter-ministerial dialogue on violence. This political declaration forms the government of Namibia’s commitment to delivering on the target 16.2 of the SDGs, Aspirations 6 and 7 of Agenda 2063 and 2040.


During the meeting, the Honorable Minister of Gender Equality and Social Welfare Doreen Sioke called on all Namibians to come together to end violence against children recognizing ending violence against children is a shared responsibility. Dr Joan Nyanyuki, Executive Director of the African Child Policy Forum and Chair of the African Partnership to End Violence against Children /APEVAC/ commended the government for the steps taken and for joining the growing number of countries that are committed to act and invest in ending violence against children. Namibia is now among the 32 countries in the world and the 9th country in Africa to join the global initiative to ending violence against children.

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