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Burkina Faso[1][print]

Last edited: May 2006

 

Summary and Analysis

 

Close to half the population of the Republic of Burkina Faso is under fifteen years old. The legal system has both civil and customary components. The state is patiently unifying the traditions of civil and customary law, with a focus on incorporating values based on international standards, though standing on the principle that its nation's laws should be an authentic representation of its people's values.

 

Burkina Faso ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child on May 23, 1990, and has also ratified the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. Before a treaty becomes law in Burkina, it must undergo review for its constitutionality and accordance with other national law. If it does not pass this review, the Burkina law must be changed before the treaty can be incorporated into the law. Once duly enacted, treaties are the highest authority in the legal hierarchy. The Constitution does contain the provision that if the “other party” to a treaty is not abiding by it, Burkina Faso is relieved of its obligation to do so.

 

The government has made efforts to comply with the Convention, and has made progress in areas such as the creation of the Children's Parliament, which is intended to give children the opportunity to express their views on legal reform affecting them. It seems that Burkina Faso does not have the ability to spread significant child services to non-urban areas, however, so for many children these efforts have no direct or immediate effect.

 

Burkina does not have specialized child protection proceedings, although courts do sometimes control and remove parental authority, usually in the context of a criminal proceeding. Judges are required by law to seek the opinion of the child, but are not required to take the child's opinion into consideration other than “exclusively in terms of the child's best interests.”

 

Sources of Law (In Order of Authority)

 

Original Text

 

International Law

 

Convention relative aux droits de l'enfant, [2] ratified May 23, 1990.

Article 12.

1. Les Etats parties garantissent à l'enfant qui est capable de discernement le droit d'exprimer librement son opinion sur toute question l'intéressant, les opinions de l'enfant étant dûment prises en considération eu égard à son âge et à son degré de maturité.

 

2. A cette fin, on donnera notamment à l'enfant la possibilité d'être entendu dans toute procédure judiciaire ou administrative l'intéressant, soit directement, soit par l'intermédiaire d'un représentant ou d'une organisation approprié, de façon compatible avec les règles de procédure de la législation nationale.

 

Regional Agreements

 

Charte Africaine des Droits et du Bein-etre de l'Enfant,[3] signed Feb. 27, 1992, ratified Jun 8, 1992.

Article 4.  Interet Superieur de L'Enfant

2. Dans toute procédure judiciaire ou administrative affectant un enfant qui est capable de communiquer, on fera en sorte que les vues de l'enfant puissent être entendues soit directement, soit par le truchement d'un représentant impartial qui prendra part à la procédure, et ses vues seront prises en considération par l'autorité compétente, conformément aux dispositions des lois applicables en la matière.

 

Article 7.  Liberte d'Expression

Tout enfant qui est capable de communiquer se verra garantir le droit d'exprimer ses opinions librement dans tous les domaines et de faire connaître ses opinions, sous réserve des restrictions prévues par la loi.

 

Constitution

 

Constitution du Burkina Faso[4]

Article 2. La protection de la vie, la sûreté, et l'intégrité physique sont garanties.

Sont interdits et punis par la loi, l'esclavage, les pratiques esclavagistes, les traitements inhumains et cruels, dégradants et humiliants, la torture physique ou morale, les sévices et les mauvais traitements infligés aux enfants et toutes les formes d'avilissement de l'Homme.

 

Article 24. L'Etat oeuvre à promouvoir les droits de l'enfant.

 

Statutes

 

Code des Personnes et de la Famille[5]

 

We were unable to locate the text of the Code des Personnes et de la Famille. Please see the Translation section for a summary of the Code from Burkina Faso's State Party Report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child.

 

Translation

 

International Law

 

Convention on the Rights of the Child,[6]  ratified May 23, 1990.

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.

 

Regional Agreements

 

African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child[7]

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.

 

Constitution

 

The Constitution of Burkina Faso[8]

Article 2. The protection of life, safety, and physical integrity are guaranteed. Slavery, slave practices, inhuman and cruel, degrading and humiliating treatment, physical and moral torture, mistreatment inflicted upon children and all forms of deprecation of man are forbidden and punished by law.

 

Article 24. The state works to promote the rights of the child.

 

Statutes

 

Code on the Individual and the Family

 

We were unable to locate the text of the Code.  The following is a summary of the Code provided by Burkina Faso in its State Party Report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child[9]

 

The Code on the Individual and the Family requires judges to seek the opinion of children over 15 years of age concerning their adoption and change of name when they had initially been recognized by their mother (arts. 474 and 37). Although judges are required by law to seek the child's views, they are not required to take those views into account. They do so exclusively in terms of the child's interests. Children's views are not always taken into account in the family environment. Parents take decisions for their children. Children not having attained majority may go to court only when represented by their parents or guardians.

 

Local Contact Information

 

Mouvement Burkinabe des Droits de l'Homme et des Peuples (MBDHP)

Mr Chrysogone Zoumoré,

Secretaire general.

226 50 31 31 50

mbdhp@cenatrin.bf

Address:

MBDHP

01 BP 2955

Ouagadougou 01

Burkina Faso

 



Endnotes

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

[2] G.A. Res. 44/125, U.N. GAOR, 44th Session, Supp. No. 49, U.N. Doc. A/44/736 (1989), available at http://www.ohchr.org/french/law/crc.htm.

[3] Charte Africaine des Droits et du Bein-etre de l'Enfant, opened for signature July 11, 1990, OAU Doc. CAB/LEG/24.9/49, available at http://www.africa-union.org/.

[4] Constitution du Burkina Faso, Révisée par les lois numéros: 002/97/ADP du 27 janvier 1997, 003 -2000/AN du 11 avril 2000, 001 -2002/AN du 22 janvier 2002, available at http://www.legiburkina.bf/codes/constitution_du_burkina_faso.htm, and also here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.

[5] Zatu No. AN VII 0013/FP/PRES, 16 November 1989, portent code des personnes et de la famille.

[6] UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, supra note 1, available at http://www.ohchr.org/english/law/crc.htm.

[7] African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, supra note 2, available at http://www.africa-union.org/.

[8] The Constitution of Burkina Faso, official translation, available here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.

[9] Committee on the Rights of the Child, Initial reports of States parties due in 1997, Burkina Faso, ¶ 83-85,88, U.N. Doc. CRC/C/65/Add.18 (Feb. 13, 2002), available at http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/(Symbol)/a72673d15e7c285ec1256bc8002e0195?Opendocument, and also here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.

 

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