BURKINA FASO: National Laws

Summary: General overview of Burkina Faso's national legal provisions on children's rights, including guidance on how to conduct further research.


National laws on children's rights

Status of the CRC in national law
Article 151 of the Constitution of Burkina Faso (“the Constitution”) provides that ratified treaties, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child, are directly and immediately applicable in national law.

Constitution: There are three articles that make specific reference to children's rights within the Constitution: 

  • Art. 2 prohibits the abuse and maltreatment of children

  • Art. 23 professes the equality of children in rights and duties

  • Art. 24 provides that the State must act to promote the rights of children

Legislation: Burkinabé law contains a number of codes that cover specific areas of domestic law. Of specific relevance to children's rights are the Criminal Code, the Criminal Procedure Code, the Code of the Individual and the Family, and the Labour Code. Other relevant legislation includes, but is by no means limited to:

  • Act No. 19/61 of 9 May 1961 on juvenile offenders and children at risk

  • Act No. 28-2004/AN of 8 Sept. 2004 on judicial organisation (creating specialist juvenile justice courts)

  • Act No. 029-2008 on combating trafficking in persons and related practices of 15 May 2008

  • Act No. 38-2003/AN of 27 May 2003 on the definition and punishment of trafficking in children

  • Act No. 13/96/ADP of 9 May 1996, introducing the Education Act

  • Act No. 33-2004/AN of 14 Sept. 2004, raising the minimum age for employment from 14 to 15 years.

  • Act No. 049-2005/AN of 22 Dec. 2005 on reproductive health

  • Act No. 007-2004/AN of 6 April 2004 introducing community service penalties

  • Act No. 17-99/AN of 22 April 1999 on the Drugs Code

  • Presidential decree No. AN-VII 0319/FP/SAN-AS of 18 May 1990, on placement and monitoring of children in Burkina Faso

Legal Research:
Burkinabé laws are published in the Official Gazette, which is available in French in the government's online database containing legislation, decrees, decisions, and other legal resources (
http://www.legiburkina.bf/); the National Assembly (Assemblée Nationale) also maintains a website in French (http://www.an.bf/). The GlobaLex project at New York University has written a helpful online guide to the legal and political system of Burkina Faso (http://www.nyulawglobal.org/Globalex/Burkina_Faso.htm), and the U.S. Library of Congress (http://www.loc.gov/law/help/guide/nations/burkina.php) and World Legal Information Institute (http://www.worldlii.org/catalog/2677.html) have complied a number of links to useful resources.  A fully amended electronic version of the Constitution of Burkina Faso can be found in original French on the president's website (http://presidence.bf/constitution.php?sid=22).

Case law
CRC Jurisprudence
Please contact CRIN if you are aware of any cases in national courts that reference the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Case Law Research
Recent decisions of the Constitutional Council (Conseil Constitutionnel) are available from the Council's official website (http://www.conseil-constitutionnel.gov.bf/decisions-avis/decisions-avis.html), while the websites of the Council of State (Conseil d'Etat) (http://www.conseil-etat.gov.bf/SiteConseil-Etat/index.jsp) and the Supreme Court of Appeals (Court de Cassation) (http://www.cour-cassation.gov.bf/SiteCour-Cassation/index.jsp) also have a number of useful resources.  A number of decisions from courts across Burkina Faso are also available in a searchable database on JuriBurkina (http://www.juriburkina.org/juriburkina/recherche.do).

Compliance with the CRC
Although the Committee on the Rights of the Child commended the government of Burkina Faso in its 2010 observations for developing legislation in pursuit of compliance with the CRC, it noted with concern that the draft Child Code did not cover the full ambit of rights and principles within the Convention. The limitation of the draft code to children in conflict with the law was highlighted, in particular, as a shortfall within that document.

In depth analysis:
In response to the passing of Act N° 28-2004/AN of 8/09/2004, creating new courts for juvenile justice, the Committee welcomed reform, but expressed concern that the juvenile justice system is yet to be brought into compliance with the Convention. In particular the prevalence of lengthy prison sentences, trial by adult courts and the frequent absence of proper representation in legal proceedings were highlighted as specific problems.

Discriminatory features of domestic law have also been concerns of the Committee throughout its observations. More specifically, the disparate minimum ages for marriage for boys (20 years) and girls (17 years, or 15 years in exceptional circumstances) has been consistently singled out as an object of concern.

With respect to corporal punishment, the Committee expressed particular concern about the continuing legality of corporal punishment in employment, alternative care and the home. The absence of specific laws prohibiting domestic abuse was also highlighted as an area in which compliance is yet to be achieved.]

Current reform projects
At the time that the 2008 report to the CRC was submitted, the criminal affairs sub-division of the National Codification Commission was due to consider sexual exploitation legislation with a view to identifying activities that ought to be covered by new offences, while the criminal procedure code was also due for a review in order to revise judicial procedures for minors. A draft Child Code was also moving through the legislative process.


Please note that these reports are hosted by CRIN as a resource for Child Rights campaigners, researchers and other interested parties. Unless otherwise stated, they are not the work of CRIN and their inclusion in our database does not necessarily signify endorsement or agreement with their content by CRIN.