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The SOAWR Coalition Call to Action and Accountability Statement to the African Union Member States


We, members of the SOAWR Coalition, are deeply concerned about the continued violation, infringement, abuse, and denial of the rights of women and girls in Africa in contravention of the provisions of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (the Maputo Protocol);

Recognizing that forty-six (46) AU Member States have ratified the Maputo Protocol, 

Concerned that nine (9) Member States are yet to ratify the Maputo Protocol; 

Acknowledging that the Republic of Botswana and the Central Africa Republic have taken positive steps towards ratifying the Maputo Protocol. 

We therefore :

  1. Urgently call upon the following nine (9) States to ratify the Maputo Protocol: the Republic of Burundi, the Republic of Chad, the Arab Republic of Egypt, the State of Eritrea, the Republic of Madagascar, the Kingdom of Morocco, the Republic of Niger, the Federal Republic of Somalia, and the Republic of Sudan and encourage the Republic of Botswana to formally deposit the instrument of ratification with the African Union Commission. We also urge the Central African Republic, which took steps to ratify the Maputo Protocol in 2012,  to urgently complete the process by depositing the instrument of ratification with the African Union Commission. 
  2. Call upon all AU Member States to enact and effectively implement appropriate legislative or regulatory measures prohibiting and curbing all forms of discrimination against women and girls, taking corrective and positive action in those areas where discrimination against women and girls continues to exist.
  3. Urge all AU Member States to invest in public education, information, communication, and other strategies to achieve the elimination of harmful cultural and traditional practices and all other practices that are based on the idea of the inferiority or superiority of either of the sexes or on stereotyped roles.
  4. Appeal to AU Member States to adopt and enforce legislative, administrative, social, and economic measures to prevent, punish, and eradicate all forms of violence against women and girls, ensuring the protection of every woman’s right to dignity.
  5. Exhort AU Member States to employ appropriate national legislative measures to guarantee that women enjoy equal rights as men and are regarded as equal partners in marriage, at entry,  after separation, divorce, or annulment. 
  6. Further call upon AU Member States to take specific positive actions, including affirmative action, enabling national legislation, and other measures to ensure that women are represented equally and effectively at all levels in all electoral and decision-making processes.
  7. Impress upon AU Member States to adopt and enforce legislative and other measures to guarantee that women have equal opportunities in work, career advancement, and access to other economic opportunities, including the freedom to choose their occupation, equal remuneration for jobs of equal value, adequate and paid pre- and post-natal maternity leave in both the private and public sectors and further take adequate measures to recognize, redistribute, reduce, and reward unpaid care work.
  8. Further impress upon AU Member States to urgently adopt and enforce legislative and other measures to guarantee that women’s right to health, including sexual and reproductive health, is respected and promoted and that women have the right to control their fertility, choose any method of contraception as well as access to medical abortion in cases of sexual assault, rape, incest, and where the continued pregnancy endangers the mental and physical health of the mother or the life of the mother or the fetus.
  9. Implore AU Member States to urgently adopt all appropriate measures backed with sanctions, explicitly prohibiting harmful cultural practices, including Female Genital Mutilation, non-consensual marriages, and marriage of girls below the age of 18 years, ensuring that women’s right to live in a positive cultural context and to participate at all levels in the determination of cultural policies is upheld.
  10. Strongly urge all AU Member States to honor their treaty reporting obligations under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights by submitting their periodic reports under Article 62 of the Charter as read together with Article 26 of the Maputo Protocol, indicating the legislative and other measures undertaken for the full realization of the rights of women and girls as guaranteed by the Maputo Protocol.

Delivered at  Mombasa, Kenya on November 30, 2023; By the SOAWR Steering Committee on behalf of the  Members of the SOAWR Coalition:

  1. Action for Development (ACFODE), Uganda
  2. African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies (ACDHRS), The Gambia
  3. African Women’s Development and Communication Network (FEMNET), Kenya
  4. Akina Mama wa Afrika (AMwA), Uganda
  5. Alliances for Africa, Nigeria
  6. Association de Promotion de la Culture Environnementale( APCE)
  7. Association des Juristes Maliennes (AJM), Mali
  8. Association des Juristes Sénégalaises, Senegal
  9. Association of Egyptian Female Lawyers (AEFL), Egypt
  10. Atwar Organization for Research and Social Development (Atwar), Libya
  11. BAOBAB for Women’s Human Rights, Nigeria
  12. Cellule de Coordination sur les Pratiques Traditionnelles Affectant la Santé des Femmes et des Enfants (CPTAFE), Guinea
  13. Centre for Health Human Rights and Development (CEHURD), Uganda
  14. Centre for Justice Studies and Innovations (CJSI), Uganda
  15. Centre for Rights Education and Awareness (CREAW), Kenya
  16. Centre for Reproductive Rights (CRR), Kenya
  17. Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR), South Africa
  18. Coalition on Violence Against Women (COVAW), Kenya
  19. Collectif des Associations et ONGS Féminines de Burundi (CAFOB), Burundi
  20. Communication Techniques for Development (ACT)
  21. Eastern African Sub-regional Support Initiative for the Advancement of Women (EASSI), Uganda
  22. Equality Now, Kenya
  23. Federation of Women Lawyers Kenya (FIDA-Kenya), Kenya
  24. Fondation Pour l’Egalité/ CIDDEF, Algeria
  25. Forum for Development and Human Rights Dialogue (FDHRD)
  26. Forum Mulher, Mozambique
  27. Great Lakes Initiative for Human Rights and Development (GLIHD), Rwanda
  28. Haki Nawiri
  29. Help Age International
  30. Her Voice Liberia
  31. Human Rights Law Service (HURILAWS), Nigeria
  32. Initiative for Gender Equality and Development in Africa (IGED) , Ghana
  33. Inter-African Committee (IAC), Guinea and Ethiopia
  34. Ipas Africa Alliance for Women’s Reproductive Health and Rights, Kenya
  35. Jossour, Morocco
  36. KADIRAT, Tunisia
  37. Kenyan Section of the International Commission of Jurists, Kenya
  38. La Journal Féministe Algérien (JFA) (The Algerian Feminist Journal), Algeria
  39. Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC), Tanzania
  40. Make Every Woman Count, Guinea
  41. Malawi Human Rights Resource Center, Malawi
  42. MPower, Mauritius
  43. NGO Gender Coordination Network (NGOGCN), Malawi
  44. Oxfam GB, Kenya
  45. People Opposing Women Abuse (POWA), South Africa
  46. Question des Femmes, Togo
  47. Réseau des Femmes Leaders pour le Développement (RFLD),  Bénin
  48. Réseau Inter Africain des Femmes, Médias, Genre et Développement/Inter-African Network For Women, Media, Gender and Development (FAMEDEV), Senegal
  49. Sister Namibia, Namibia
  50. Sources of Peace Organization (SPO), Libya
  51. Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa (SIHA), Uganda and Sudan
  52. Support the Empowerment of Women and their Rights for Development (STEWARDWOMEN), South Sudan
  53. The Forum for Development and Human Rights Dialogue (FDHRD), Egypt
  54. The National Association for the Defense of Rights and Freedoms NADRF, Egypt
  55. The Network Against Female Genital Mutilation [NAFGEM], Tanzania
  56. The New Generation Girls and Women Development Initiative (NIGAWD)
  57. Tomorrow’s Child Initiative (TCI), Kenya
  58. Tshwaranang Legal Advocacy Centre (TLAC), South Africa
  59. Uganda Women’s Network (UWONET), Uganda
  60. Union Nationale des Femmes de Djibouti (UNFD), Djibouti
  61. University of Pretoria Centre for Human Rights, South Africa
  62. Voix de Femmes, Burkina Faso
  63. Well Being Africa (WBA), South Africa
  64. Women’s Advocacy and Communication Network (WANET), Cameroon
  65. Women and Law Southern Africa (WLSA), Zambia
  66. Women and Law Southern Africa (WLSA)Zimbabwe
  67. Women Counselling and Information Centre (WCIC), Cameroon
  68. Women for Justice and Equality
  69. Women in Law and Development in Africa (WiLDAF), Zambia
  70. Women Lead Movement Madagascar
  71. Women NGO’s Secretariat of Liberia (WONGOSOL), Liberia
  72. Women of Liberia Peace Network (WOLPNET), Liberia
  73. Women on the Watch(WOW) Society Initiative
  74. Women Peace Initiatives Association (WPI), Cameroon
  75. Women’s Rights Advancement and Protection Alternatives (WRAPA), Nigeria
  76. Young Liberian Women Organization For Improvement (WOFIM), Liberia
  77. Y-Peer Petri, Morocco