African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child
The charter is the only regional treaty in the world which addresses the issue of child soldiers. It was adopted by the Organization of African Unity (now the African Union) and came into force in November 1999. It defines a child as anyone below 18 years of age without exception. It also states that: “States Parties to the present Charter shall take all necessary measures to ensure that no child shall take a direct part in hostilities and refrain in particular, from recruiting any child” (Article 22.2). The text of the Charter can be found on the African Union website.
The UN Security Council has passed a series of resolutions condemning the recruitment and use of children in hostilities. These are resolutions 1261 (1999), 1314 (2000) 1379 (2001), 1460 (2003), 1539 (2004) and 1612 (2005) on children and armed conflict. Resolutions can be found on the UN Security Council website.