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The Centre for Human Rights in an effort to spearhead the belief of leaving no one behind acknowledges the importance of a rights-based approach to ageing and calls for the promotion and protection of the rights of older persons.

(Op-Ed by Ade JohnsonThiruna Naidoo & Annie Bipendu)

International Women's Day (IWD), celebrated annually on 8 March, is an opportunity to reflect on the achievement of gender equality in the world, and particularly in Africa. The commemoration of IWD provides a chance to assess the changes and progress made towards the achievement of gender equality generally and the protection of the human rights of women and girls particularly.

As a country previously ravaged by a protracted civil war that killed approximately 150 000 people and left behind 200 000 refugees, Liberia is rising from the ashes of its past. In addition, it has had to deal with the Ebola virus that also wiped out thousands more from its population, yet the country continues to strive to improve its human rights record. This was demonstrated by the commitment that the government of Liberia has made to the drafting of a state party report to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Commission) under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Charter) and the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol).

The Republic of Liberia ratified the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights in 1982 and its supplement instrument, the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol), in 2007. By virtue of its ratification of these instruments, Liberia is bound by the reporting obligations as prescribed under Article 62 of the African Charter and Article 26(1) of the Maputo Protocol. However, despite these commitments, the last time Liberia reported to the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights (African Commission) on the African Charter was in 2012 and the country is yet to report on the Maputo Protocol.

As part of the Africa Beijing+25 review, and in preparation of the commemoration of the Beijing Declaration in 2020, the  African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Commission), through the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Women in Africa, hosted a panel during the 65th Ordinary Session of the Commission on 22 October 2019 in Banjul. The panel focused on the rights of women in Africa and was an opportunity to reflect on the strides made on the continent over the years since the adoption of the Beijing Declaration in 1995.

The Women’s Rights Unit at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, in collaboration with Moremi Initiative for Women’s Leadership in Africa, a non-profit organisation in Africa, conducted a state reporting workshop on the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (African Charter) and the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights on the Rights of women in Africa (Maputo Protocol). The meeting took place at Aqua Safari Resort, Ghana from 9 to 11 October 2019.

After an intense but rewarding three-day meeting  (9 to 11 September 2019), the Kingdom of Eswatini finalised the drafting of their state party report to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Commission). This after over a decade of non-compliance with the state party obligation under article 62 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Charter) and article 26(1) of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol).

The African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Charter) is a powerful human rights response to violations and occurrences across the continent. Such human rights violations include the outbreaks of conflicts and civil wars in countries such as Liberia. The Republic of Liberia ratified the African Charter in 1982  and its supplement instrument – The Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol) in 2007.

In June 2017, Mauritius ratified the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol). In accordance with Article 26 (1) of the Maputo Protocol, the country has to submit its initial report at the 65th Session of the African Commission in October 2019.

Forced sterilisation and the status of women in society

In conversation with Ms Saoyo Tabitha Griffith

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