Joint Sonke, POWA, SWAGAA and TAC statement from the 45th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on People and Human Rights, Banjul, Gambia, 13-27 May 2009
People Opposing Women Abuse statement to the 45th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights
13th-27th May 2009
Status #375 Madame Chair, Ladies and Gentlemen, all protocol observed. People Opposing Women Abuse in partnership with International Refugee Youth Focus, Sonke Gender Justice, Swaziland Action Group Against Abuse and Treatment Action Campaign would like to congratulate you and wish you well in your new appointment. People Opposing Women Abuse partners acknowledge the notable progress regarding the development of normative frameworks for the Rights of Women in Africa. However, despite such progress the reality of women’s lives on the Continent is divorced from the legislative framework as evidenced by the lack of political will of Member States to live up to their commitments to ratify, domesticate and implement relevant instruments such as The Maputo Plan of Action arising out the Abuja Declaration and The Protocol To The African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa.
- The reality on our Continent is that women continue to be disproportionately infected and affected by HIV and AIDS. In Sub-Saharan Africa; nearly 60% of those infected are women.
- Of the 2.3 million refugees and internally displaced people on the Continent the majority are women and children.
- In Sub-Saharan Africa up to 45% of women experience violence in their lifetime.
It should be noted that the intersectionality of these socio-political issues further impact on women’s vulnerability. We note with concern the lack of appropriate and meaningful administrative and policy mechanisms that create an increased and continued vulnerability of marginalised women on the Continent in particular those in conflict zones, refugees, rural, urban poor, disabled, affected and infected by HIV. We further note, institutionalisation of patriarchy within political decision making structures, traditional and cultural bodies and religious institutions exacerbate women’s vulnerability. Considering that the Maputo Plan of Action and the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa underline the commitment of African States to protect women from vulnerabilities and further promote women’s rights on the African Continent. We call upon the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights to conjoin the 26 member states that are still to ratify the Protocol to do so and, the member states that have ratified to domesticate and implement the protocol as a matter of urgency
We strongly urge the African Commission treat HIV as an urgent matter and prioritise it, and urge the Commission to encourage Member States to avail adequate resources and budgetary allocations. Madam Chair, I thank you for your attention.