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Reiteration of Rights Marks Pan African Women's Day

Aug 22, 2008, 7:49 AM | Article By: By Sarata J-Dibba

As part of the activities of the pan African Women's Day, which was celebrated last week at the Paradise Suites Hotel, almost all women councils or representative in all the regions who cares were brought together. The programme was indeed a great achievement and it showed a sign of more empowerment and improvement in women folk's lives, as different important topics were discussed and many interesting outlets on human and people's rights on the right of women were discussed.

For the benefit of our esteemed readers we brought a summary of the women's protocol. The protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa{women's protocol}, which entered into force on 25 November 2005, provides more comprehensive and specific guarantees in relation to women's human rights than the charter. It will be monitored by the African Commission through states submitting periodic reports under the African Charter.

The women's protocol recognises and guarantees a wide range of women's civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. Its main provisions include the following articles: Elimination of discrimination, article 2,8 and 9: States must adopt legal, institutional and other measures to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women they must also initiate education, awareness raising and other programmers of action to eliminate harmful cultural, traditional and other practices based on the idea of the inferiority or superiority of either of the sexes, or on stereotyped roles of women and men.

States also must ensure that women are treated equally before the law and are given equal opportunities to participate in government and decision making.

Elimination of violence against women, article 3 to 5 : women may not be exploited or degraded. States must protect women from all forms of violence, including sexual and verbal violence, whether the abuse takes in home or in public. To achieve this, states must take steps to prevent punishment and eradicate violence against women.

Trafficking in women must be prevented and the traffickers must be prosecuted.

Equality in marriage, divorce and inheritance, article 6,7,20 and 21

With regards to marriage:

*Women and men have equal rights and are equal partners.

*No marriage must happen without the free and full consent of both parties.

With regards to widow:

*A widow must not be treated in a way that are inhuman, humiliating or degrading

*A widow has the rights to an equitable share in the inheritance of her husband's property.

Peace and protection during conflicts. Article 10 and 11: women have the rights to participate in promotion and maintenance of peace. This means.

rape and other forms of sexual exploitation during conflicts must be considered as war crimes, genocide, or crimes against humanity.

Education. Article 12: women should have the same opportunities as men to education and training. All stereotypes discriminating against women should be eliminated from textbooks and other education materials as well as in the media.

Equal opportunities in work. Article 13: women must be given equal opportunities as men in their work and careers. This includes:

*The right to choose their occupation and not to be exploited

*The right to be paid the same as men who do the same kind of job

*The right to maternal leave.

All forms of sexual harassment in the workplace must be prohibited.

Health and reproductive rights, article 14: women's right to health, including sexual and reproductive health, includes:

*The right to control their fertilities

*The right to any method of contraception

*The right to protection against sexually transmitted infections, including HIV/Aids.

States must ensure that women have access to adequate and affordable health services, including pre and post natal health and nutritional services.

Special protection, article 22 to 24: states must provide special protection for elderly women, women with disabilities, women from marginalised communities and income families, and pregnant and nursing women.