(In)Validity of Egypt’s Reservations to The African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child
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On May 9 2001, the Arab Republic of Egypt ratified the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. Along with said ratification, Egypt submitted five reservations against Articles 21 (2), on child marriage, 24 on adoption, 30 (a-e) on the special treatment of children of imprisoned moth- ers, 44 establishing the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child’s competence to receive communications and 45 (1) granting the Committee competence to undertake investigations in state parties. Botswana, Mauritania and Sudan have also collectively entered four other reservations, with Sudan entering a fifth also on child marriage (Article 21.2). While reservations to human rights treaties are the subject of torturous inquiry as to their validity, severability of invalid reservations, and competence to so determine, Egypt’s last two reservations, being jurisdic- tional in nature, raise probably the prickliest of questions in this respect. In the context of African international human rights law’s compulsory quasi- judicial treaty body competence tradition, the extent to which a state can validly reserve consent to be bound to treaty body jurisdiction attains an even more prickly status. These jurisdictional reservations and their valid- ity, severability or otherwise, and the process international law has gone through in attempting to address these problems will be analysed here.