Published online by Cambridge University Press: 18 September 2008
Each right has a corresponding duty. The African Children's Charter, under article 31, imposes a range of duties on children. Understandably, it could become contentious when an instrument on the rights and welfare of children expressly imposes duties on them. After setting the platform for discussion by highlighting international experiences and outlining the African concept of human rights, this article critically examines and attempts to clarify the precise meaning, content, conditions of compliance and application of those duties for children. By way of conclusion, it suggests that article 31 represents a valuable addition to the international human rights agenda, and that a purposeful interpretation of its constituent parts reveals that children should be required to play a role at family, community, national and continental levels, in accordance with their age and maturity as they grow up, as part and parcel of their heritage, empowerment and developing citizenship.