Recognizing that women are not a homogenous group and that certain identities including ethnic and social origin, sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as legal, social and cultural situations, including, refugee status, internally displaced persons, asylum seekers, migrant workers, women in criminalized occupations, disability, HIV status, disproportionately impact on women’s experiences, opportunities, and vulnerability to violence
Considering the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the Protocol to the African Charter on the Rights of Women in Africa, the Protocol on the Establishment of the African Court of Human and Peoples’ rights, CRC, CEDAW and the Global UN study on violence against Children (2006),
Bearing in mind that Children’s rights are human rights and that Women’s rights are human rights, requiring an integrated and holistic approach to the rights of human beings throughout the region,
We call upon the Commission without reservation to:
Legislation, policy and implementation: Urge states which have not done so to ratify the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the Protocols to the African Charter on the Rights of Women and on the Establishment of a Court on Human and Peoples’ Right respectively.
Urge State Parties to the Protocol on the Rights of Women to take urgent measures to ensure full implementation of that protocol at national level so that women and girls will enjoy effectively rights recognised.
Harmful Practices: We are concerned that State Parties are yet to adopt laws and measures to prohibit and criminalise and punish all forms of violence and discrimination against women and children, in particular against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), early (below 18) and forced marriages, widowhood practices and denial of inheritance and land rights and all the other forms of physical and psychological harm affecting children. Such legislation should be accompanied by special measures of implementation.
Registration of Birth: State Parties should make birth registration compulsory and accessible to ensure protection of children from school drop out and early marriage.
Livelihood: States should take appropriate economic measures to reduce poverty of women and ensure decent livelihood and human security for them.
Legal aid, assistance and representation: State parties should as a matter obligation ensure access to justice and courts through effective remedies to women victims of rights violation by provision of free legal aid and representation.
Judicial, Police and law enforcement trainings: State Parties should implement Article 25 of the African Charter and train judges, police and other law enforcement officers on women and children rights and update their knowledge on international and regional human rigths instruments protecting their rights.
States should allocate sufficient resources to Ministries of Women and Gender Affairs to run programmes concerning children and women and ensure adequate coordination between the various ministries and within them.
States should support participatory methods at community level to identify the harmful practices and take measures towards their elimination.
States should implement concluding observations in relation to the examination of periodic State Parties reports made by the African Commission, the Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child.
State Parties should support the establishment of special rapporteur on Violence Against Children at the AU and strengthen the existing mechanisms on the rights of children.
Education: Integrate education on child and women’s rights and harmful practices in the curricula and training policies, for public and private schools and at community level. This should concern girls, boys, but also persons working with and for children, such as police officers, judicial and social workers etc.
Free and compulsory education up to secondary level for girls and boys and ensure especially that girl children do not drop out of school for marriage.
Legal Protection for People Living with HIV/AIDS: State parties should take legislative and other measures to end discrimination and stigmatization against people living with HIV and AIDS especially ensure the delivery of services for the prevention of mother- to child- transmission of HIV (PMTCT) and economic empowerment of women.
Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights & the Expert Committee on Rights and Welfare of the Child: The Commission should dedicate the coming year to a continental campaign against harmful practices, and with a special consideration of female genital cutting.
Research on Harmful Practices: Develop statistics and document Harmful Practices including less known forms of harmful practices ones (such as initiation rituals, honour crimes, widowhood rites, denial of inheritance and land rights etc.)
Develop research in order to identify good practices and alternative ways of discipline and guidance for children and for people living and working for and with children.
Children with disabilities: More attention should be brought to the rights of disabled children which are particularly vulnerable to abuse.
Internally Displaced Persons: Urge African Union to facilitate the process of drafting the Convention on Prevention and Protection of Internally Displaced Person in Africa and adopt for state ratification
NGOs: To work closely with NGOs to monitor Government implementation and accountability of the African Charter on the Rights and welfare of children, the Protocol on the rights of women in Africa and their recommendations.
We call for the establishment of a coordinating mechanism between the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, the African Court on Human and People’s rights and other relevant bodies.
Done in Brazzaville, 12 November, 2007