We, members of the SOAWR Coalition, are deeply concerned about the continued violation, infringement, abuse, and denial of the rights of women and girls in Africa in contravention of the provisions of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (the Maputo Protocol);
Recognizing that 46 AU Member States have ratified the Maputo Protocol;
Concerned that nine (9) Member States are yet to ratify the Maputo Protocol;
Acknowledging that the Republic of Botswana and the Central Africa Republic have taken positive steps towards ratifying the Maputo Protocol.
We therefore :
1. Urgently call upon the following nine (9) States to ratify the Maputo Protocol: the Republic of Burundi, the Republic of Chad, the Arab Republic of Egypt, the State of Eritrea, the Republic of Madagascar, the Kingdom of Morocco, the Republic of Niger, the Federal Republic of Somalia, and the Republic of Sudan and encourage the Republic of Botswana to formally deposit the instrument of ratification with the African Union Commission. We also urge the Central African Republic, which took steps to ratify the Maputo Protocol in 2012, to urgently complete the process by depositing the instrument of ratification with the African Union Commission.
2. Call upon all AU Member States to enact and effectively implement appropriate legislative or regulatory measures prohibiting and curbing all forms of discrimination against women and girls, taking corrective and positive action in those areas where discrimination against women and girls continues to exist.
3. Urge all AU Member States to invest in public education, information, communication, and other strategies to achieve the elimination of harmful cultural and traditional practices and all other practices that are based on the idea of the inferiority or superiority of either of the sexes or on stereotyped roles.
4. Appeal to AU Member States to adopt and enforce legislative, administrative, social, and economic measures to prevent, punish, and eradicate all forms of violence against women and girls, ensuring the protection of every woman’s right to dignity.
5. Exhort AU Member States to employ appropriate national legislative measures to guarantee that women enjoy equal rights as men and are regarded as equal partners in marriage, at entry, after separation, divorce, or annulment.
6. Further call upon AU Member States to take specific positive actions, including affirmative action, enabling national legislation, and other measures to ensure that women are represented equally and effectively at all levels in all electoral and decision-making processes.
7. Impress upon AU Member States to adopt and enforce legislative and other measures to guarantee that women have equal opportunities in work, career advancement, and access to other economic opportunities, including the freedom to choose their occupation, equal remuneration for jobs of equal value, adequate and paid pre- and post-natal maternity leave in both the private and public sectors and further take adequate measures to recognize, redistribute, reduce, and reward unpaid care work.
8. Further impress upon AU Member States to urgently adopt and enforce legislative and other measures to guarantee that women’s right to health, including sexual and reproductive health, is respected and promoted and that women have the right to control their fertility, choose any method of contraception as well as access to medical abortion in cases of sexual assault, rape, incest, and where the continued pregnancy endangers the mental and physical health of the mother or the life of the mother or the fetus.
9. Implore AU Member States to urgently adopt all appropriate measures backed with sanctions, explicitly prohibiting harmful cultural practices, including Female Genital Mutilation, non-consensual marriages, and marriage of girls below the age of 18 years, ensuring that women’s right to live in a positive cultural context and to participate at all levels in the determination of cultural policies is upheld.
10. Strongly urge all AU Member States to honor their treaty reporting obligations under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights by submitting their periodic reports under Article 62 of the Charter as read together with Article 26 of the Maputo Protocol, indicating the legislative and other measures undertaken for the full realization of the rights of women and girls as guaranteed by the Maputo Protocol.