Egypt Okays African Child Charter, with Cultural Reservations
Egypt's Parliament has approved most of an African children's rights charter, but did not back parts that lawmakers called counter to Islamic law and Egyptian traditions, parliamentary sources told Reuters on Sunday.
The assembly unanimously approved most sections of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the African Child, which aims to protect African children against economic exploitation and abuse.
"Egypt objected to some clauses of the agreement which do not fit in with Islamic law and Egyptian customs and traditions. Therefore, Egypt does not adhere to them," Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal El Shazli said in parliament.
He mentioned clauses approving adoption, setting the minimum age for girls to marry at 18, and outlawing death sentences against pregnant and nursing women, said the agency.
Shazli said Islam did not permit adoption, and that Egyptian law allowed girls to wed at 16. He said Egyptian law allowed the death sentence for pregnant women, but that it could not be implemented until two months after they had given birth.
The charter, sponsored by the Organization of African Unity (OAU) and in force since 1999, aims to provide protection against economic exploitation, child abuse and substance abuse, which rights groups say many African children face because of poverty.
Egypt Online's official site has reported that the Arab country will host the African Child Conference at the end of May, with the participation of the spouses of African heads of state and international experts in various areas, reported.
The conference, under the auspices of Egypt's first lady, Suzanne Mubarak, aims at formulating a unified African stance at the special session of the UN General Assembly on childhood next September.
Participants will discuss the rights of African children, and the challenges that face them, such as poverty, AIDS, and illiteracy.
They will also address the role of political leadership and media in improving the lives of African children - Albawaba.com
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