We, participants at the Forum on the Participation of NGOs in the 51st Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights held in Banjul, The Gambia, from 14-16 April 2012.
Recalling that women’s reproductive rights are protected by the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights which is further affirmed by the Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa.
Recalling that the African Union declared 2010 to 2020 as the Africa Women’s Decade therefore prioritising the advancement of women’s rights.
Recalling that the Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa specifically recognises women’s health and reproductive rights in Article 14.
Noting that African States have committed to the achievement of Millennium Development Goals particularly MDG5 to improve maternal health by reduction of the maternal mortality ratio and improving access to reproductive health.
Alarmed that women in Africa are far from fully realising their reproductive health rights despite all the aforementioned protections due to State Parties lack of fulfilment and commitment to the same.
Deeply concerned at the lack of access to health facilities and services that has resulted in the deaths of women in Africa, as evidenced by the high maternal mortality rate in Africa.
Condemning the continued negligence of African states in actualising the reproductive health rights of women in Africa.
Therefore urge the African Commission to consider and pass this resolution and to call upon African States to prioritise the promotion, protection and advancement of the reproductive health rights of women in Africa and to take immediate steps to:
- Enact legislation, formulate policies and other measures to fulfil their obligations under the African Charter and the Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa;
- Take positive steps to ensure the implementation of existing legislation and policies that provide for the protection and promotion of women’s reproductive health rights;
- Reform and repeal those laws and policies that restrict access to safe abortion services and put women’s lives at risk on a daily basis;
- Lift reservations placed on the Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa, which defeat the realisation and promotion of women’s rights as intended by the Protocol, in particular reservations entered against Article 14, which guarantees women’s reproductive health rights;
- Take immediate steps to reduce the high rate of maternal mortality in Africa, by ensuring provision of reproductive health care, including access to safe abortion services, as stipulated by the Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa;
- Promote the reduction of unplanned pregnancies by ensuring women have regular access to family planning education and services;
- Allocate sufficient resources towards health and reproductive health care programmes and adhering to the Abuja Declaration to scale up government funding for health to at least 15%.
Done in Banjul 16 April, 2012