Securing family and women’s rights through an African response
In conversation with Prof Fareda Banda
Experience has shown the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) to be insufficient in addressing certain challenges faced by women across the African continent. Through the discussion with Prof Fareda Banda (SOAS, University of London) the background to the Maputo Protocol (Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa) and distinctions between it and CEDAW are explored.
Through building on the international framework, the Maputo Protocol reflects developments in the areas of: intersectionality; the specificities of the African women; decoupling women’s rights from the husband; and in reproductive rights, including access to safe abortions. We discuss how cultural practices can be used as justification for discrimination, whereby Prof Banda explains the cultural recognition within the Protocol and the requirement for women’s participation in their construction. She highlights the positive cultural practices of the continent and the importance of placing them within the treaty framework.
We then move to exploring family rights and the protections the Maputo Protocol has ushered in. Prof Banda delves into the provisions on marriage and inheritance and how the new African constitutions are removing discriminatory laws and no longer ringfence customary law from scrutiny. Whether the developments have occurred solely due to the laws in place is considered. Rounding off the discussion, the importance of knowing the African treaty is stressed to facilitate its broader use and in taking ownership of it.
This conversation was recorded on 26 March 2019.
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