Malawi amends its Constitution to comply with Article 2 of the African Children's Charter.
The Parliament of the Republic of Malawi, on 15 February 2017, passed an amendment to the Constitution of Malawi to provide for a child to be anyone below the age of 18 years. With this move, all the provisions on the age of a child in Malawian law have been harmonized.
This amendment comes 4 months after a friendly settlement was successfully negotiated between the Republic of Malawi and the Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa (IHRDA) during the 28th Ordinary Session of the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC), the primary child rights protection organ of the African Union. A key provision of the settlement was Malawi’s undertaking to amend its Constitution and all other relevant laws by December 2018.
In 2014, IHRDA filed a communication against Malawi at the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child alleging that Section 23 (5) of the Constitution of Malawi violated articles of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, as article 23 (5) provided for a child to be a person below the age of 16, adversely affecting children under age 16, in particular those caught up in the criminal justice system. The friendly settlement signed with Malawi in October 2016 was a response to the case filed against it in 2014 citing a contradiction in Malawi’s national law and its international human rights obligations under the African Children’s Charter.