This report is part of CRIN's access to justice for children project, looking at the status of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in national law, the status of children involved in legal proceedings, the legal means to challenge violations of children’s rights and the practical considerations involved in challenging violations.
Mali has ratified the CRC in 1990, with one reservation concerning article 16 of the Convention (children’s right to privacy). It has accessed to the Optional Protocols on children in armed conflict and on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography in 2002. Regularly ratified treaties take precedence over national law. The CRC has been incorporated by the Child Protection Code and is not, as such, invoked before the national courts. Unemancipated children under 18 do not have legal capacity, and rely on their representatives to challenge violations of their rights in civil, criminal, and administrative courts. Although the law set up a legal aid system, it is effectively close to nonexistent. Access to justice in Mali is hindered by the distances litigants have to travel to bring their cases to court. Judicial delays, corruption, and the current post-conflict situation in the North make it very difficult for children to enforce their rights.