NGOs slam article on child rights in Egypt's draft charter

Sunday, December 02, 2012 3:01 PM 
Children standing in front of a school in Giza - Reuters

An Egyptian non-governmental organization (NGO) denounced on Saturday the article on child rights in the draft constitution, accusing it of failing to guarantee the rights and dignity of children.

The Egyptian Association for the Assistance of Juveniles and Human Rights added that Article 70 also does not prohibit child trafficking and sexual exploitation.

The NGO decried the assembly’s failure to specify the age of children in the charter, particularly when Egypt was one of the first signatories of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) which clearly declares anyone below the age of 18 as a minor.

The minimum age for marriage set by the Personal Status Code in 2008 was 18, which is not the case under the new constitution.

According to Amnesty International, Egypt’s draft constitution does not shield minors from early marriage and permits child labor.

"The article does not ensure children are protected from economic exploitation and from performing any work that is likely to be hazardous, as required by the CRC", Amnesty International said, adding, "The constitutional provisions also fail to comply with other treaties on children’s rights ratified by Egypt, including the Minimum Age Convention, and the Worst Forms of Child Labor Convention."

An Islamist-led constituent assembly finished drafting the country’s constitution on Friday morning allowing it to be put to referendum on December 15.

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