A preliminary appraisal of the normative gains for children’s rights in the Angolan Children’s Act (act 25/12 of 22 August 2012)
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The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) represents the most significant step towards the advancement of children’s rights globally. Article 4 of the UNCRC requires states to take concrete measures to ensure the harmonisation of laws relating to children with the Convention’s substantive provisions, including legislative and administrative measures. A similar duty prevails under the regional treaty, the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC). Angola is the most recent example of an African country which has enacted a children’s statute to bring domestic law in line with international law requirements. The traditional link between children’s rights and family law is evident in many UNCRC and ACRWC requirements. These include: the child’s right to know and be cared for by both parents who shall bear responsibility for the upbringing and development of the child (UNCRC, art 18(1) and ACRWC, arts 19 and 20); the child’s right not to be separated from his or her parents against their will unless so determined by competent authorities (UNCRC, art 9(1); ACRWC, art 19(2)); the right of a child who is separated to maintain personal relations and direct contact with both parents (UNCRC, art 9(2); ACRWC, art 19(3)), and the child’s right to protection from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation including sexual abuse, whilst in the care of parents, legal guardians or any other person who has the care of the child (UNCRC, art 19(1); ACRWC, art 16(1)).