Improving access to case-law on child rights in Africa

We’re thrilled to share news about the launch of the online African Child Rights Case Law Database! This online database (available in English and French) was commissioned by African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child and was created in collaboration with the Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa (IHRDA). HURIDOCS provided the technical support to make their vision for this platform a reality.

The African Child Rights Case Law Database is a collection of judgments from domestic courts in various African countries on cases related to the rights and welfare of children. It provides easy and open access to children’s rights jurisprudence in Africa that was previously almost impossible to obtain. Access to this information supports the important work of domestic, regional and international institutions, civil society actors, researchers and students in the area of children’s rights in Africa. This database provides human rights defenders with the information they need to protect the rights of children in their communities and achieve justice in the court system.

The case for a case-law database

Case-law research is a crucial part of winning a case. Litigators need to be able to browse court decisions easily, and quickly find the primary case-law, and then save them for use in their court briefs. The challenge is that current case-law browsers are difficult to navigate. Although decisions are often interlinked, it’s hard to browse from one to another. Also, primary case-law is not highlighted, so you are left in front of a forest of cases with no key to the important ones. This case-law database aims to provide solution to this problem.

The architecture for this platform was based on our work on the Inter-American Human Rights System Case Law Analyser (built in partnership with CEJIL) and the African Human Rights Case Law Analyser (built in partnership with IHRDA).

Documents in the database have been organized to allow search by country, subject matter (or keyword), court type and date of judgment. The database provides a summary of each judgment and the full judgment that can be read online or downloaded and accessed offline.

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Today, the database contains judgments related to children’s rights and welfare from courts in six African countries, available in English and French. IHRDA is actively adding more judgements from State Parties to the African Children’s Charter and they request that all interested actors and stakeholders can contribute to the enhancement of this database by forwarding relevant judgments to info@acerwc.org or to ihrda@ihrda.org.

Sound useful? Create your own online database using Uwazi!

Uwazi

From our experience talking to human rights organizations about their document-publishing needs and building on our expertise in developing these solutions, we set out to create a platform that anyone can use to create their own online database. Uwazi (Swahili for openness) is a modern, open-source tool that allows human rights groups to easily publish collections of any type of documents. Learn more about the users’ feature requests that provided the inspiration for Uwazi.

For more information on Uwazi, please visit our website!

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