Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa

Printer-friendly version
October 2009 meeting of eastern and southern African activists
Catharine MacKinnon and October 2009 meeting of eastern and southern African Activists

 

RESOURCE: A Guide to Using the Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa for Legal Action (14 July 2011, pdf, 4.79MB). [Also available in French & Portuguese; Arabic translation pending.]

Equality Now, in conjunction with Solidarity for African Women’s Rights (SOAWR), is delighted to announce the release of A Guide to Using the Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa for Legal Action. The release of this manual comes 5 years after the Protocol came into force. “We hope African lawyers and women’s rights advocates find the manual useful and it gives them hands-on guidance on how best to apply the remarkable standards of the Protocol in cases of violations of women’s rights,” said Faiza Jama Mohamed, Nairobi Office Director of Equality Now, which convenes SOAWR, a coalition of 44 civil society organizations working to ensure that the Women’s Protocol is ratified and implemented across the continent.

The Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (the Protocol) is a groundbreaking women’s rights legal instrument. Since the Protocol came into force in 2005, the Solidarity for African Women’s Rights (SOAWR) Coalition, of which Equality Now serves as the Secretariat, has worked to ensure its ratification and domestication by African nations, so that the rights set forth in this instrument can be realized. To date, 36 of 54 African countries have ratified the Protocol.

Equality Now played a key role in ensuring that the Protocol had strong provisions to safeguard and advance women’s rights. Through the LAW Project, we convened a meeting of African activists that was crucial in both drafting strong language and advocating with governments to incorporate this language into the adopted legislation. As a result, the Protocol significantly advances the protections provided to women in international law by establishing the right to medical abortion under certain circumstances, mandating legal prohibition of female genital mutilation (FGM), and prohibiting the abuse of women in pornography. See the full text of the Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa (PDF, 145KB).