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Equatorial Guinea[1] [print]

Last edited: November 2005

 

Summary and Analysis

 

Equatorial Guinea ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child [CRC] in 1995 and the African Charter on the Rights of the Child [ACC] in 2002, effectively giving both texts the status of domestic legislation.  Though the Constitution of Equatorial Guinea contains an article protecting children's physical and psychological health and normal development, the nation has no formal child protection system in place.  In 1997, the government set up the Comité Nacional del Derechos del Niño [CNDN] (the National Committee for the Rights of the Child), responsible for creating legislative and non-legislative measures to protect children in Equatorial Guinea, but no legislation has been passed as of yet.  The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child criticized the CNDN in its comments to Equatorial Guinea, saying that the CNDN, "is not effectively functioning."[2]

 

Equatorial Guinea faces several impediments to the proper implementation of the CRC and the ACC.  Though Equatorial Guinea gained independence from Spain in 1968, the government only began a process of democratization in 1996.  The country still restricts the activities of non-governmental organizations, so UNICEF is one of only a few NGOs currently working with children in the country.[3]  Meanwhile the country is plagued with high levels of poverty and the spread of HIV/AIDS.  More than 50% of Equatorial Guinea's children live in single-parent homes.[4]  According to the U.S. State Department's 2004 country report on human rights, child labor is legal and widespread and, although Equatorial Guinea recently passed a law against the trafficking of people focusing largely on children, the government has done little in the way of enforcement.[5]  As to the implementation of Article 12, the government faces the traditional attitudes of the society in Equatorial Guinea, in which the views of children, even in the home, are rarely sought.[6]

 

Related Sources of Law (In Order of Authority)

 

Original text

 

Constitution

 

La Constitución de la República de Guinea Ecuatorial[7]

 

Artículo 22: El Estado protege a la persona desde su concepción y ampara al menor para que pueda desenvolverse normalmente y con seguridad para su integridad moral, mental y física, así como su vida en el hogar.

El Estado fomenta y promueve la atención primaria de la salud como piedra angular del desarrollo de la estrategia de dicho sector.

 

International Law

 

Convención sobre los derechos del niño[8], ratificada el 15 junio, 1995

 

Artículo 12

1. Los Estados Partes garantizarán al niño que esté en condiciones de formarse un juicio propio el derecho de expresar su opinión libremente en todos los asuntos que afectan al niño, teniéndose debidamente en cuenta las opiniones del niño, en función de la edad y madurez del niño.

2. Con tal fin, se dará en particular al niño oportunidad de ser escuchado, en todo procedimiento judicial o administrativo que afecte al niño, ya sea directamente o por medio de un representante o de un órgano apropiado, en consonancia con las normas de procedimiento de la ley nacional.

 

African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child,[9] ratified Dec. 20, 2002.

 

Article 4.  Best Interests of the Child

 

2. In all judicial or administrative proceedings affecting a child who is capable of communicating his/her own views, an opportunity shall be provided for the views of the child to be heard either directly or through an impartial representative as a party to the proceedings, and those views shall be taken into consideration by the relevant authority in accordance with the provisions of appropriate law.

 

Article 7: Freedom of Expression

Every child who is capable of communicating his or her own views shall be assured the rights to express his opinions freely in all matters and to disseminate his opinions subject to such restrictions as are prescribed by laws.

 

Translation[10]

 

Constitution

 

Constitution of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea[11]

 

Item 22: The state shall ensure the protection of every person from birth, and foster his normal development and ensure his security for his moral, psychological and physical integration as well as his family life.

It shall encourage and promote primary health care as the cornerstone of the development of this sector.

 

International Law

 

Convention on the Rights of the Child, [12] ratified Jun. 15, 1995

 

Article 12

1. States Parties shall assure to the child who is capable of forming his or her own views the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting the child, the views of the child being given due weight in accordance with the age and maturity of the child.

2. For this purpose, the child shall in particular be provided the opportunity to be heard in any judicial and administrative proceedings affecting the child, either directly, or through a representative or an appropriate body, in a manner consistent with the procedural rules of national law.

 

African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child,[13] ratified Dec. 20, 2002.

 

Article 4.  Best Interests of the Child

2. In all judicial or administrative proceedings affecting a child who is capable of communicating his/her own views, an opportunity shall be provided for the views of the child to be heard either directly or through an impartial representative as a party to the proceedings, and those views shall be taken into consideration by the relevant authority in accordance with the provisions of appropriate law.

 

Article 7: Freedom of Expression

Every child who is capable of communicating his or her own views shall be assured the rights to express his opinions freely in all matters and to disseminate his opinions subject to such restrictions as are prescribed by laws.

 

Additional Resources and Links/Research Path

 

Equatorial Guinea Government (In Spanish, French, and English):  www.ceiba-guinea-ecuatorial.org/

 

Comité de Apoyo al Niño de Guinea Ecuatorial- Committee for the Support of the Child in Equatorial Guinea (In Spanish): www.canige-constancia.org/

 

UNICEF - Equatorial Guinea: www.unicef.org/infobycountry/equatorialguinea.html

 

US State Department - 2004 Human Rights Report: www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2004/41601.htm

 

Report on Equatorial Guinea by the International Bar Association Human Rights Institute: www.ibanet.org/images/downloads/Equatorial_Guinea_Report.pdf

 

Directory of Development Organizations in Equatorial Guinea: www.devdir.org/files/Equatorial_Guinea.PDF

 

United States Embassy in Malabo- Equatorial Guinea Links: http://malabo.usembassy.gov/wwwhequat-guinea-links.html

 

Stanford University­­­­­: Equatorial Guinea Links: http://www-sul.stanford.edu/depts/ssrg/africa/eqg.html

 

Energy Information Administration - Equatorial Guinea Country Analysis Brief: www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/cabs/eqguinea.html

 

Us-africa.org Equatorial Guinea Country File http://us-africa.tripod.com/eqguinea.html

 

 

 


Endnotes

[1] This page is also available as a .pdf Document, and Word Document.

[2] Concluding Observations: Equatorial Guinea, Committee on the Rights of the Child, 37th Sess., 999th mtg., ¶9, U.N. Doc. CRC/C/15/Add.245 (2004) available at http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf, and also here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.

[3] Concluding Observations: Equatorial Guinea, ¶17.

[4] Concluding Observations: Equatorial Guinea, ¶36.

[5] Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Equatorial Guinea, §5 (U.S. Department of State, 2005) available at http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2004/41601.htm.

[6] Initial Reports of State Parties due in 1994: Equatorial Guinea, Committee on the Rights of the Child, ¶64, 65, U.N. Doc. CRC/C/11/Add.26 (2004) available at http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf, and also here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.

[7] Eq. Guinea Const., Ley Constitucional Num. 1/1995 de 17 de enero, Art. 22 available at http://www.ceiba-guinea-ecuatorial.org/guineees/indexbienv1.htm and also here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.

[8] Convención sobre los Derechos del Niño art. 12, Dec. 12, 1989, UN General Assembly Document A/RES/44/25, available at http://www.ohchr.org/spanish/law/crc.htm.

[9] African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, opened for signature July 11, 1990, art. 4, 7 OAU Doc. CAB/LEG/24.9/49 [hereinafter ACC] available at http://www.africa-union.org/.

[10] The following are official translations.

[11] Eq. Guinea Const, Constitutional Law No. 1/1995 of Jan. 15, Item 22, available at http://www.ceiba-guinea-ecuatorial.org/guineeangl/indexbienv1.htm.

[12] United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child art. 12, Dec. 12, 1989, UN General Assembly Document A/RES/44/25, available at http://www.ohchr.org/english/law/crc.htm.

[13]ACC, art. 4, 7.

 

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