Review of the Nubian Minors' Decision by ACERWC

On the 4th May 2017, the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the African Child (ACERWC) held its 29th ordinary summit at the Avani Casino Hotel in Maseru Lesotho. It was the first time in the history of the African commission that the litigants/community and the defendant/The State met together in the presence of the commissioners to discuss the status of the implementation of a case. The Nubian minors’ case (2011) was the first case to be determined by the committee as a landmark case and it was also the first that both parties came before the commission not to complain about the implementation but rather to give a detailed explanation of what has been changed and where the parties have failed and need to put in more effort.

Namati and Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI) jointly made a briefing policy paper that OSJI (the litigant) presented to the committee. ECD-0812-Nubian Children-Implementation Briefing-LB-4.28.2017.pdf (180.0 KB)

This policy paper used the data from the Nubian Rights Forum paralegal database on birth certificate applications and ID card registration focusing on the documents requested, time taken to get the documents, and vetting, among other violations that the committee had recommended to the state to abolish. The policy brief also captured the issues raised by Namati and members of CONCISE (a coalition of civil society actors working on nationality rights in Kenya) to members of parliament in a joint letter of asks on the Proposed Registration of Persons Bill 2014 among them being:

  1. The extension of late registration based on the findings of the paralegal project that over 70% of the cases are late registration
  2. Non possession of a registration document should not restrict children from basic human rights like right to education among others captured in the letter of asks that can be found on here. Concise letter of asks Sept 2016.pdf (214.3 KB)

The delegation from the government comprised of:

  1. The director children’s affairs department
  2. Assistant director Immigration department
  3. The Civil registry department

The committee members highlighted that the government delegation made a general presentation and had not addressed the Nubian Children’s issues as citied in the Nubian Minors’ decision. They suggested that the community representatives and the government needed to have a private sitting to discuss the implementation of the decision. The community, the state and the litigant (OSJI) had a private meeting with the committee later on after the hearing to discuss the way forward in the implementation of the decision.

Private session between the community and the state chaired by the Chairman of ACERWC Prof. Benyam Dawit Mezmur

Even though no commitments were made the private discussions opened doors of future collaborations between the state and the community members for the implementation of the decision as both parties were willing to work together to address the situation. @lauragoodwin @vivekmaru @Purity_Wadegu @Naima_Rajab @zena @makkahyusuf @Cnior @Lore @laurabingham @mckinleycharles


It is very sad that its been more than 5 years since the decision was made and no binding commitments have been undertaken by the state to that regard. From the read, I gather that the government delegation did not really address the main issue in question which is another downside of the results of the summit. However, I acknowledge the fact that the private sessions held opened doors for future collaborations and pray that we will all work together to realize the rights of the Nubian child in Kenya