We, NGOs gathered during the NGO Forum of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) and actors of the campaign "Africa for the rights of women: ratify and respect," express our deep concerns regarding the non-enactment of the new Malian Family Code, following the decision of the President, on August 26, 2009 to send the law back to Parliament for a second reading. We strongly regret that nearly one year after this decision, the second reading has yet to take place and that insufficient action has been taken to facilitate its understanding of and acceptance by some groups of the Malian population.
The new Family Code, as adopted by the National Assembly on August 3, 2009, reflects many years of consultation and debate between a range of actors within Malian society. The adoption of this text, which provides some crucial guarantees for Malian women’s universal rights, would constitute a fundamental first step towards bringing Malian laws into compliance with international and regional standards, in accordance with Mali’s obligations under the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, ratified by Mali in 1985, the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, ratified in 2005, and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, ratified in 1990.
We are thus deeply concerned that the enactment of this legislation, which is fundamental for the protection of the rights of Malian women, is in suspense. Violations of Malian women’s human rights are favored by this legislative gap. We stress the urgent need to adopt such a code in Mali and call upon the Republic of Mali to address this legislative gap, by ensuring that the second reading takes place without further delay and that the Family Code is enacted in its present form, without weakening of any of its provisions.
We hope that the Malian authorities will, thus, demonstrate their commitment to promote women’s rights in Mali.