The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria and the Tshwaranang Legal Advocacy Centre (TLAC), under the umbrella of the Solidarity for African Women's Rights (SOAWR) Network, held a three-day virtual workshop from 28 to 30 September 2020 on the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol) and shadow reporting. The aim of the workshop was to increase the number of shadow reports submitted to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Commission) and to encourage a robust interaction of CSOs with the African Commission to effectively monitor the implementation of the Maputo Protocol.
The Centre was represented by Ms Patience Mungwari, Ms Susan Mutambasere and Ms Lydia Chibwe from the Women’s Rights Unit and TLAC was represented by Ms Welekazi Stofile. The following CSOs from Malawi were present: Youth Net and Counselling, Centre for Youth and Development, Centre for Girls and Interaction, The Gender and Justice Unit, Women’s Legal Resources Centre, Angsoma Development Commission and Namwera Aids Coordinating Committee.
Malawi ratified the Maputo Protocol in 2005. It submitted its initial report on the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Charter) and the Maputo Protocol 10 years later in 2015, covering the period from 1992 to 2013. Malawi managed to submit its follow-up periodic report this year (2020) covering the period 2015 to 2019 which is due for review in the next session of the African Commission.
This follows the obligation of states to submit reports under Article 62 of the African Charter and Article 26(1) of the Maputo Protocol which stipulates that member states are mandated to submit reports every two years on legislative and other measures they adopted in order to give effect to the provisions of the African Charter. As a way of ensuring a comprehensive review of the human rights situation in a country, shadow reports by civil society organisations (CSOs) are essential to compliment state reports. This is in line with rule 79(3) of the 2020 Rules of Procedure of the African Commission which encourages ‘institutions, organizations or any interested party’ who wishes to contribute to the examination of the state report on the human rights of the country in question to send their contributions, including shadow reports to the Secretary of the Commission.
Participants were introduced to the African regional system of human rights, the substantive provision of both the African Charter and the Maputo Protocol, the state reporting guidelines and the shadow reporting process. Practical exercises of developing shadow reports were also done during the three days. Facilitators for the three days included: Dr Itumeleng Shale (Lecturer, National University of Lesotho), Advocate Simangele Mavundla (Lecturer, University of Eswatini), Dr Adetukumbo Johnson, (Postdoctoral Fellow, University of the Free State), Ms Susan Mutambasere, (PhD candidate and Project Officer, Women’s Right Unit) and Ms Patience Mungwari (Manager, Women’s Right Unit).
Following the workshop, the CSOs committed to developing a shadow report on the 2015-2019 Malawi State Report to be reviewed at the next Ordinary Session of the African Commission in November/December 2020.
This activity has been financially supported by the Swedish Development Cooperation through Equality Now.