Over 100 organisations launch a Campaign « Africa for Women’s Rights – Ratify and respect! »

Press release
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On 8 March 2009, International Women’s Day, over one hundred organisations throughout Africa, launch a campaign to call upon their governments to ensure respect for women’s rights. To mark this occasion, actions in over 40 countries - marches, demonstrations, parades, workshops, radio and television programmes - will all carry a united message.

Launched at the initiative of FIDH with 5 regional non-governmental organisations, ACDHRS, FAS, WILDAF, WLSA et WACOL [1], together with their national members and partners, the Campaign calls on states to RATIFY international and regional texts on women’s rights – the Protocol to the Africain Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa and the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) - and to RESPECT their obligations in law and in practice.

« We have come together to say with a single voice : enough is enough! », declared the Campaign Steering Committee. « We are issuing a call to all African governments to face up to their responsibilities. The elimination of violence and discrimination against women is above all a question of political will ».

Strengthening respect for women’s human rights requires reform of the legal framework. The Campaign demands the reform of discriminatory laws, the adoption of laws to protect women from violence and discrimination, and calls on African governments to take all necessary measures to ensure the respect of such laws in practice.

« Women in Africa know that nothing will be achieved without a struggle. Our collective duty, women and men, is to support them », concluded the Steering Committee.

For more information on the Campaign : www.africa4womensrights.org

 The Campaign has the support of the following patrons: Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate 1984, Shirin Ebadi, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate 2003; Nadine Gordimer, Nobel Literature Prize Laureate 1991 and Rachid Taha, Musician.

 The Campaign also counts on the support of the following institutional representatives: Soyata Maiga, Special Rapporteur on Women’s Rights at the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights; Yakin Erturk, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women; and Pramila Patten, United Nations independent expert, CEDAW Committee.

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