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Breathing Life into the Protocol on the rights of women in Africa by Caroline Muthoni Muriithi Equality Now/SOAWR.

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Presentation on theme: "Breathing Life into the Protocol on the rights of women in Africa by Caroline Muthoni Muriithi Equality Now/SOAWR."— Presentation transcript:

1 Breathing Life into the Protocol on the rights of women in Africa by Caroline Muthoni Muriithi Equality Now/SOAWR

2 Equality Now is an organization working to fight violence and discrimination against women and girls globally. Equality Now is the Secretariat for the SOLIDARITY FOR AFRICAN WOMEN’S RIGHTS COALITION (SOAWR )

3 Example of Rights within the Protocol:
Freedom from Female Genital Mutilation Freedom from Violence in Public and Private spaces including Trafficking Sexual and Reproductive Rights Prohibition of early marriage Right to Property/inheritance Protection of Widows and Elderly Women Protection for Women in Conflict Protection for Women with Disabilities “The African Women’s Protocol is actually strengthening our good culture that is gradually fading away in the heat of modernization. Its provisions are not totally strange to our cultures; it is part of our forgotten cultures overtaken by ages” Chief Ibiang Enang, Traditional ruler from Nko community, Nigeria

4 Raising her Voice (RHV) programme supports the work of SOAWR in that it enables us to use the Protocol as a vehicle to bring change for poor and marginalized women in Africa. The RHV/SOAWR collaboration is working to promote the rights and ability of poor women in Africa to increase their influence and ensure their voices are heard so that those in power – from village leaders to politicians and law-makers - become more accountable to them.

5 The Protocol alone does not have the power to transform the lives of women but only if we work towards ratification, domestication and implementation, will we see real change

6 “In many countries, and more particularly in Africa, where the illiteracy rate is quite high, the justice system has never been kind to women; it fails them. The obstacles, both formal and informal that women encounter in their attempt to access justice are quite numerous... Although there are constitutional and other statutory provisions that on paper afford women a fair measure of protection, policies, procedures and practices often prevent women from the full and equal enjoyment of these rights and privileges and hinder them from accessing justice.” Hon. Lady Justice Georgina Wood, Chief Justice of Ghana


8 Examples of challenges faced by women:
Lack of knowledge Perceptions in society Re-victimization Time and Resources needed Court Procedures and Practices “The biggest challenge in tackling cases of sexual violence is the social stigma and ostracization for making the offence public. The victim/survivor and her family in majority of cases, do not press charges for the fear of a backlash by society as well as the accused” Lawyer for surviviors in Pakistastan

9 SOAWR/RHV work Popularizing the Protocol across Africa
Developing a legal guide to using the Protocol for Legal Action Training lawyers and activists Identifying test cases e.g. Zambia

10 Moving Forward: Calling on your support to:
Use the Protocol in cases/decisions Advocate for the abolition of those laws and procedures that limit women/girls access to justice Incorporate the Provisions of the Protocol in trainings for Judges Develop partnerships with Civil Society to promote learning and sharing

11 Cont’d Encourage the use of Amicus Briefs in new areas of law
Provide legal analysis of the Protocol in law journals etc Popularize the Protocol in meetings and colloquiums

12 Together let’s breath life into the Protocol

13 Thank you Contact details: Equality Now/SOAWR P. O. Box 2018, 00202,
Nairobi, Kenya Tel: +(254) Fax: +254) Website:

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