Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa

Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, Adopted by the 2nd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Union, Maputo, CAB/LEG/66.6 (Sept. 13, 2000); reprinted in 1 Afr. Hum. Rts. L.J. 40, entered into force Nov. 25, 2005.
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Year of adoption: 2003
Year of entry into force: 2005
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Excerpts

Article 1

Definitions

For the purpose of the present Protocol:

“Harmful Practices” means all behaviour, attitudes and/or practices which negatively affect the fundamental rights of women and girls, such as their right to life, health, dignity, education and physical integrity;

“Women” means persons of female gender, including girls […].

Article 3

Right to Dignity

States Parties shall adopt and implement appropriatemeasures to ensure the protection of every woman’s right to respect for her dignity and protection of women from all forms of violence, particularly sexual and verbal violence.

Article 4

The Rights to Life, Integrity and Security of the Person

1. Every woman shall be entitled to respect for her life and the integrity and security of her person. All forms of exploitation, cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment and treatment shall be prohibited.

2. States Parties shall take appropriate and effective measures to:

a) enact and enforce laws to prohibit all forms of violence against women including unwanted or forced sex whether the violence takes place in private or public;

Prohibit all medical or scientific experiments on women without their informed consent […].

Article 5

Elimination of Harmful Practices

States Parties shall prohibit and condemn all forms of harmful practices which negatively affect the human rights of women and which are contrary to recognised international standards. States Parties shall take all necessary legislative and other measures to eliminate such practices, including:

• creation of public awareness in all sectors of society regarding harmful practices through information, formal and informal education and outreach programmes;

• prohibition, through legislative measures backed by sanctions, of all forms of female genital mutilation, scarification, medicalisation and para-medicalisation of female genital mutilation and all other practices in order to eradicate them;

• provision of necessary support to victims of harmful practices through basic services such as health services, legal and judicialsupport, emotional and psychological counselling as well as vocational training to make them self-supporting;

• protection of women who are at risk of being subjected to harmful practices or all other forms of violence, abuse and intolerance.

Article 14

Health and Reproductive Rights

1. States Parties shall ensure that the right to health of women, including sexual and reproductive health is respected and promoted. This includes:

• the right to control their fertility;

• the right to decide whether to have children, the number of children and the spacing of children;

c) the right to choose any method of contraception;

d) the right toselfprotectionand to be protected against sexually transmitted infections, including HIV/AIDS;

e) the right to be informed on one’s health status and on the health status of one’s partner, particularly if affected with sexually transmitted infections, including HIV/AIDS, in accordance with internationally recognised standards and best practices;

• the right to have family planning education.

2. States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to:

a) provide adequate, affordable and accessible health services, including information, education and communication programmes to women especially those in rural areas;

b) establish and strengthen existing pre-natal, delivery and post-natal health and nutritional services for women during pregnancy andwhile they are breast-feeding;

c) protect the reproductive rights of women by authorising 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 themother or the foetus.

Article 18

Right to a Healthy and Sustainable Environment

1. Women shall have the right to live in a healthy and sustainable environment.

2. States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to:

c) regulate the management, processing, storage and disposal of domestic waste;

• ensure that proper standards are followed for the storage, transportation and disposal of toxic waste.

Article 22

Special Protection of Elderly Women

The States Parties undertake to:

• provide protection to elderly women and take specific measures commensurate with their physical, economic and social needs as well as their access to employment and professional training;

• ensure the right of elderly women to freedom from violence, including sexual abuse, discrimination based on age and the right to be treated with dignity.

Article 23

Special Protection of Women with Disabilities

The States Parties undertake to:

• ensure the protection of women with disabilities and take specific measures commensurate with their physical, economic and social needs to facilitate their access to employment, professional and vocational training as well as their participation in decision-making;

• ensure the right of women with disabilities to freedom from violence, including sexual abuse, discrimination based on disability and the right to be treated with dignity.

 

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