Africa: Maputo Protocol Celebrates 10-Year Anniversary
Tuesday, July 16, 2013 2:20 PM

The African Charter on Human Rights’ Protocol on the Rights of Women, commonly known as the Maputo Protocol, celebrated its 10-year anniversary on 11 July 2013. The Maputo Protocol was adopted by the African Union in the Maputo summit of 2003 and after being ratified by the 15 required member states, it entered into force on 25 November 2005. The protocol includes provisions to guarantee the equality of women and men, to allow women entry to political processes, to ensure women access to reproductive health care, and to end harmful practices such as female genital mutilation. As of January 2013, the Maputo Protocol had been signed by 48 out of 54 African Union states and ratified by 36 of the same states.

Solidarity for African Women’s Rights (SOAWR) coalition, a group established in 2004 and comprised of 43 civil society organizations, promotes the Maputo Protocol as a tool in advocating for and protecting women’s rights around the African continent. SOAWR encourages the use the Maputo Protocol in holding governments accountable for the ratification and implementation of women’s rights laws. SOAWR sees a further use of the Maputo Protocol in encouraging women’s rights movements at both government and grassroots levels. Legal practitioners, such as lawyers, judges, and police, can play a role implementing the provisions of the Maputo Protocol and applying the terms to the specific circumstances of member states.
Compiled from: Jama Mohamed, Faiza, “Celebrating a Decade of the African Women’s Rights Protocol”, Thomson Reuters Foundation (16 July 2013).