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Of Newborns and Nubiles: Some Critical Challenges to Childrens Rights in Africa in the Era of HIV/ Aids

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Chapter Summary

The most substantive elaboration of principle concerning the issues relevant to HIV/Aids and the rights of the child is contained in the Committee on the Rights of the Child's General Comment No. 3 (2003). The insistence on recognising and requiring services to address children's evolving sexuality poses enormous threats to prevailing cultural and religious values in many traditional African settings. This chapter explores some of these issues with reference to some specific issues that arise in the context of HIV/Aids. The first theoretical dilemma raised in the chapter concerns the recognition and protection that the General Comment requires to be afforded to child-headed households. A second theoretical conundrum arises in the context of adolescent sexuality, parental consent, and access to concrete reproductive services and technologies. More practical concerns are raised by the some of the issues related to HIV/Aids testing and access to alternative care for babies and infants.

Keywords: adolescent sexuality; Africa; child-headed households; children's rights; HIV/Aids testing; infants



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