International Women’s Day 2011 - Call for ratification!

Press release
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8 March 2011 – On the occasion of the 100th International Women’s Day, the Coalition of the campaign "Africa for women’s rights: ratify and respect!" calls on States to ratify the Protocol to the African Charter on the Rights of Women in Africa.

Adopted in 2003 in Maputo, Mozambique, the Protocol entered into force in 2005 and has now been ratified by the majority of African states which have thereby committed themselves to “ensur(ing) that the rights of women are promoted, realised and protected”. While we welcome the ratifications in 2010 by Uganda and Kenya, we deplore the fact that 24 States have so far failed to ratify this instrument [1].

This Protocol, like the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW Convention) which has been ratified by almost all African States, provides a legal framework of reference for ensuring respect for women’s human rights: elimination of discrimination and harmful practices; right to life and to physical integrity; equality in the domain of the family and civil rights; access to justice; right to participate in the political process; protection in armed conflicts; economic rights and social protection; right to health and food security, etc.

Initiated on 8 March 2009 by the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), in cooperation with five African regional organisations [2], the Campaign « Africa for women’s rights » has the support of patrons including the Nobel Peace Prize Laureates Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Shirin Ebadi, the Nobel Literature Prize Laureates Wole Soyinka and Nadine Gordimer, the artists Angélique Kidjo, Tiken Jah Fakoly and Youssou N’Dour, as well as Ms. Soyata Maiga, Special Rapporteur of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa.

All the organisations involved in the campaign, and the campaign’s patrons, call on the Heads of state of the 24 states that have not yet done so, to seize the occasion of the 100th International Women’s Day to take steps towards the ratification of the Protocol and affirm their commitments to respecting the rights of women in their countries. We also call on them to implement the recommendations set out in the Campaign’s Dossier of Claims.

Finally, we call on States that have already ratified the Protocol to implement its provisions, including by abolishing remaining discriminatory laws.

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